Daily Sabah (Turkey)

Police seek arrest of 114 suspects over FETÖ links in nationwide ops

- ISTANBUL / DAILY SABAH WITH AGENCIES

NATIONWIDE operations were launched by Turkish police on Friday to capture 114 suspects accused of having links to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).

Suspects are sought as part of two investigat­ions by the Chief Prosecutor’s Office in the capital Ankara. They were identified as “secret imams” for the terrorist group.

In FETÖ jargon, secret imams are handlers for the group’s infiltrato­rs in several critical places. Those sought in the Ankara-based probes were “imams” for infiltrato­rs in the Gendarmeri­e General Command and provincial, district governorat­es. National Intelligen­ce Organizati­on (MİT) cooperated with police to identify the suspects.

Ninety-nine suspects among the wanted were allegedly handlers for FETÖ’s infiltrato­rs, mostly military officers, in the gendarmeri­e forces. Some 73 among them were civil servants who were earlier dismissed from their jobs on suspicion of FETÖ links while the rest were “private sector employees” according to the investigat­ors. Fifteen other “secret imams” are wanted in a separate investigat­ion on FETÖ infiltrato­rs in governorat­es. Seven among them were civil servants who were already investigat­ed for possible links to the terrorist group.

Several district governors have been suspended from their duties and arrested on charges of FETÖ membership since the investigat­ion began over the July 15, 2016 coup attempt by the terrorist group’s military infiltrato­rs.

Operations are underway in 45 provinces to capture the suspects.

Police in Ankara announced Thursday that they detained 4,724 suspected members of FETÖ last year.

While 246 out of 4,724 detained FETÖ suspects were remanded by judges, a total of 1,244 detained suspects accused of terrorism benefited from the “effective remorse” law, it said. The law grants lenient sentences and sometimes, release, for terrorist suspects who collaborat­e with authoritie­s. Thousands of FETÖ members were identified in the past few years thanks to informatio­n by collaborat­ors.

As a result of the statements of suspects who benefited from effective remorse, Ankara police identified 19,856 other FETÖ members in 2021.

Moreover, with the informatio­n received from those who benefited from remorse law, Turkish police in the capital identified a total of 4,780 unindicted FETÖ members, according to the police statement.

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