By Jeyhun Aliyev, Salih Baran and Arif Yavuz
ANKARA / EDIRNE / AFYONKARAHISAR, Turkey (AA) - Turkish security forces arrested several suspects for their alleged links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup, sources and authorities said on Tuesday.
Acting on intelligence, gendarmerie command teams in the southeastern Gaziantep province captured a FETO/PYD suspect identified by the initials M.F.C. – wanted on charges of armed terrorist group membership – in the Islahiye district, the Gaziantep Governorate said.
The PYD is another name for the YPG/PKK, a branch of the terrorist group PKK, which is responsible for over 40,000 deaths in its 30-year terror campaign against Turkey.
The suspect was in the top red category of the Interior Ministry’s wanted terrorists list, said a written statement.
The suspect testified that he earned a doctorate in the US between 2011 and 2016 and was a financial expert.
Prosecutors continue his judicial proceedings, the statement added.
-Northwest and northeast
Separately, three FETO suspects, including a lawyer allegedly responsible for FETO-linked students in the Istanbul metropolis, were caught in the northwestern Edirne province fleeing to Greece.
The suspects – sought on charges of armed terrorist group membership – were caught by provincial gendarmerie teams near a restricted military zone near the village of Kadidondurma in Meric, said the source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
Two female suspects, identified by the initials O.Y. and B.B., were transferred to the courthouse and later remanded in custody.
Legal procedures for the senior FETO member are ongoing, the source added.
Also, two FETO/PYD suspects – both active-duty soldiers – were taken into custody after warrants were issued by prosecutors in the western Afyonkarahisar province.
The suspects, identified by the initials M.K. and M.A. – both accused of communicating with FETO members by payphone – were nabbed by anti-terror police teams in simultaneous operations in the northeastern Gumushane province and northern Tokat provinces.
FETO and its US-based leader, Fetullah Gulen, are accused of orchestrating the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
Since the coup attempt, tens of thousands of FETO suspects have been arrested, including many in the armed forces, police, judicial system, and education sector.