UPDATES WITH MORE ARRESTS; EDITS THROUGHOUT
By Serdar Acil and Baris Kilic
ANKARA (AA) - Ankara prosecutors issued arrest warrants on Wednesday for 47 former teachers who used to work at schools controlled by FETO, the group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey, according to a judicial source.
The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) schools where the ex-teachers used to work have all been shut down.
Out of the total suspects being sought, 28 allegedly used ByLock, an encrypted smartphone messaging app used by coup-plotters, said the source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on talking to the media.
Following the warrants, police launched an Ankara-based operation spanning 12 other provinces, and arrested 19 suspects so far.
The search for the rest of the suspects continues, the source added.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup attempt of July 15, 2016, which left 250 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.
Separately in the central province of Eskisehir, 12 suspects were arrested under an investigation by prosecutors there, a security source said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.
In Konya, another central province, seven of 10 suspects sought for FETO links and ByLock use were arrested.
The three suspects who were not found at their addresses continue to be sought.
Also, 27 suspects were arrested in the southeastern Gaziantep province during raids of FETO “safe houses,” according to a statement by the province’s governor office.
Separately, a couple formerly employed as teachers at a FETO-run school in central Konya were apprehended in the northern province of Samsun. Three cell phones, one laptop, and a tablet were seized during the operation.
The woman was later remanded by a court in Konya, while the man was remanded by a Samsun court.
Separately, in the Samsun province, four FETO suspects allegedly assigned to welcome students from other cities were arrested, another source said.
Meanwhile, in northwestern Edirne, five FETO suspects were apprehended in a restricted military zone, according to a gendarmerie source.
The suspects included a dismissed official of Sirnak University and former teachers.
One was remanded in custody while the four others were sent back to the southeastern Sirnak province under police escort.
A former soldier accused of using the ByLock messaging app was also arrested in the Edirne province.
He was later remanded in custody by an Edirne court.