UPDATES WITH NEW ARRESTS; REVISES HEADLINE, DECK, LEDE
By Meric Urer, Yusuf Soykan Bal, and Halil Fidan
ANKARA/ISTANBUL/IZMIR/SAMSUN/BALIKESIR, Turkey (AA) - Turkish security forces arrested 266 suspects nationwide for their alleged links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup, security sources said on Tuesday.
Prosecutors in the Aegean Izmir province issued warrants for 304 suspects, including 295 active-duty personnel of the Turkish Armed Forces, said the source on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
The suspects are accused of communicating by payphone with "covert imams” who are senior FETO members.
Police and gendarmerie forces arrested 204 suspects in 50 provinces during Izmir-based simultaneous anti-terror operations.
Separately, prosecutors in the capital Ankara issued warrants for 31 doctors and six covert imams as part of an investigation into the terror group's presence in Gulhane Military Medical Academy (GATA). So far, 21 of them have been arrested in the capital.
Also in Istanbul, arrest warrants were issued for 29 suspects for providing financial support to the terror group, and police teams detained 22 suspects.
Prosecutors in the northwestern province of Balikesir issued arrest warrants for 17 suspects linked to FETO structure among teachers. Police forces arrested all 17 in simultaneous operations in 12 provinces.
Meanwhile, police arrested two FETO suspects in the Ilkadim and Atakum districts of the Black Sea province of Samsun, as part of an investigation into another FETO structure.
Also as part of an investigation into the terrorist organization's structure in the Health Ministry, prosecutors issued arrest warrants for nine doctors, including one active-duty, and a nurse.
Efforts to catch the remaining suspects are underway.
FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated 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 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.