UPDATES WITH MORE ARREST WARRANTS ISSUED, CHANGES HEADLINE
By Baris Kilic and Sertac Bulur
ANKARA (AA) - The Chief Public Prosecutor's Office in capital Ankara on Friday issued arrest warrants for 70 teachers suspected of being linked to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup.
In a statement, the office said the arrest warrants had been issued under an emergency decree for former staff members of FETO-linked schools.
Police later arrested 29 suspects in operations in 12 provinces across the country including the capital.
The statement added that 27 suspects had allegedly been using ByLock, an encrypted mobile phone application used by FETO members to communicate during and after the defeated coup attempt.
Separately, in the southern Mersin province, police apprehended a former lieutenant as part of a probe into FETO, according to a security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.
An arrest warrant for the suspect had been issued by the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in the eastern Erzincan province.
Separately in the northwestern Tekirdag province, 15 suspects were arrested for allegedly financially supporting FETO.
The arrests came after the Tekirdag Chief Public Prosecutor's Office issued arrest warrants for 20 FETO suspects. In another operation in the western city of Bursa, 10 former police officers were arrested.
After prosecutors in the eastern Erzincan province issued arrest warrants for 19 on-duty soldiers, police launched an operation in 15 provinces to apprehend the suspects.
Meanwhile, another 15 FETO suspects were arrested in 17 provinces across the country after the Kayseri Public Prosecutor’s Office issued arrest warrants against 23 people.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara 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.
* Selahattin Ozbozkurt from Mersin, Ergun Haktaniyan from Kayseri, Kemal Ozdemir from Erzincan, Ugur Ulu and Cem San from Bursa, Mesut Karaduman from Tekirdag and Zafer Fatih Beyaz and Serdar Acil contributed to the story.