UPDATES WITH 16 SUSPECTS HELD IN ISTANBUL, 4 OTHERS IN BALIKESIR
By Halil Demir
ISTANBUL (AA) - Public prosecutor offices in Istanbul and Ankara issued arrest warrants for 87 people on Tuesday for their alleged links with the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), an illegal network behind defeated coup attempt in 2016, according to judicial sources.
The Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in Istanbul issued arrest warrants for 60 people who were accused of providing education consultancy to FETO members and using the ByLock encrypted messaging app.
ByLock is an encrypted mobile phone application used by FETO members to communicate during and after the 2016 defeated coup.
Istanbul Police Department's Counter Terrorism Unit launched a simultaneous operation across 28 provinces to apprehend the suspects; at least 16 suspects have been arrested so far.
The Chief Public Prosecutor's Office in Ankara also issued arrest warrants for 27 former employees of the Youth and Sports Ministry as part of an investigation into the FETO terror network.
So far, police in Ankara have arrested eight suspects while the search for more suspects remains ongoing, according to a police source, who wished to stay anonymous due to restrictions on talking to the media.
In a separate operation in central Konya province, police arrested 15 people for their alleged links with the “female wing” of the FETO group.
Security forces in northwestern Balikesir province also arrested four FETO suspects in another operation.
Police operation to nab three more suspects connected with the probe, launched by the Konya Public Prosecutor's Office, continues, the source added.
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 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.