At least 33 people were arrested in Turkey over their links to Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup, security sources said Monday.
In central Konya province, 15 people were arrested over FETO links, said a source who spoke anonymously due to restrictions on talking to the media. The arrests came following an investigation, launched on March 29, into the terror group's structure within the military.
Last Thursday, Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in Konya issued arrest warrants for 70 on-duty soldiers and “imams” -- suspected senior figures within FETO responsible for coordinating cells within the armed forces -- in 38 provinces.
The source also said that a total of 42 suspects were arrested on March 29, adding that Monday’s detentions raise the number of arrests to 57.
Separately, the police also arrested 18 FETO suspects including former executives of Hacettepe Teknokent, a technocity in the capital Ankara, a judicial source said on Monday. Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in Ankara said in a statement that the suspects were arrested in Ankara, Istanbul, Kocaeli, and Bursa.
Ankara accuses Gulen, a US-based Muslim cleric, of orchestrating the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, and has declared his movement a terrorist organization. At its peak, the Gulen movement operated schools in 160 countries, from Afghanistan to the United States. Since the coup attempt, Turkey has pressured allies to shut down Gulen-run establishments.
Another development related to the FETO arrests took place on the 29th of March, when six Turkish nationals were arrested in Kosovo over links to schools financed by the Gulen movement. All six suspects were detained by Kosovo law enforcement as a result of cooperation between the relevant government offices of the two countries and were handed at the airport to a special team deployed to Pristina by the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT).
It is believed that thousands of Gulen-linked high-level military and civilian bureaucrats as well as other people have fled Turkey before and after the coup attempt.