UPDATES FIGURES; ADDS DETAILS; REVISES INTRO, HEADLINE, DECK
By Muhammed Enes Can and Ekrem Payan
ISTANBUL (AA) – At least 47 people have been arrested in Turkey for suspected links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup, sources and authorities said on Saturday.
Two operations were conducted to uncover the terror group's “current structuring among university students.”
Prosecutors in Istanbul and the National Intelligence Organization’s Istanbul branch uncovered activities of FETO-linked student formations from 2019 to 2020 and launched operations based on the obtained information.
The first operation was carried out on Nov. 13 in seven cities, leading to the arrest of 28 suspects.
Five of the arrested suspects benefitted from the effective repentance law after confessing to their crimes, according to a judicial source who spoke on condition of anonymity.
A second operation was conducted on Saturday and 11 additional suspects, who had been identified from the testimony of other suspects, were arrested.
Many digital materials and organizational documents were seized by the police.
Later in the day, eight more suspects were arrested in an operation in the southeastern Sirnak province.
The suspects were soldiers on active duty who were acting as ‘covert imams’ – senior FETO members – and were part of the terror group’s efforts to infiltrate the Turkish Armed Forces, according to a statement by the provincial governorate.
FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup on July 15, 2016, in which 251 people were martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Turkey 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 Dilan Pamuk in Ankara