UPDATES WITH NUMBER OF ARREST WARRANTS, SUSPECTS DETAINED IN ANKARA, KONYA; REVISES HEADLINE, DECK, LEDE
By Safak Yel, Serdar Acil, Tanju Ozkaya, Baris Kilic and Savas Guler
IZMIR/ANKARA/KONYA, Turkey (AA) - Turkish prosecutors have issued arrest warrants for 168 suspects nationwide over their alleged links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup attempt, security sources said on Tuesday.
Prosecutors in the Aegean Izmir province issued the warrants for the suspects -- 16 of them noncommissioned military officers -- on charges of using terror group’s encrypted smartphone messaging app ByLock and for being customers of Bank Asya, a FETO-linked bank, said one of the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
Police raids were launched simultaneously in 11 provinces to apprehend the suspects, the sources added.
In the capital Ankara, prosecutors issued warrants for 40 people for allegedly leaking the 2011 exam questions of police department to the FETO-linked candidates, according to judicial sources.
The Ankara prosecutors also demanded the arrest of 70 staff of land and navy forces – including seven on active-duty personnel – after they were found to have periodically communicated with FETO members via pay phone. So far, 26 suspects have been arrested in operations carried out in eight provinces.
In operations based in the central Konya province, seven people were arrested after prosecutors issued arrest warrant for 12 suspects due to their suspected links to FETO.
In a separate operation in the southeastern Adana province, 15 suspects were detained over their alleged links to FETO, security sources said.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup on 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.
*Writing by Erdogan Cagatay Zontur