Turkish police on Wednesday (July 8) detained at least 34 suspects over their alleged links to a network believed to be behind a coup attempt in 2016, Xinhua news agency reported.
Acting upon the order of Turkish prosecutors in the western city of Izmir, police launched simultaneous operations in five provinces across the country to catch 19 suspects, Xinhua quoted Turkish news agency Anadolu as saying.
Those targeted in operations also included two expelled police chiefs, it noted, adding that police have been searching five more suspects in Izmir.
They were all accused of using an encrypted mobile application to contact the members of the network led by U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen.
In a separate operation in the Mediterranean province of Antalya, security forces captured 15 suspects over their suspected links to the network, Anadolu added.
On June 15, Turkish news agency Anadolu reported that at least 57 suspects were arrested over alleged links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), what it called the group behind the 2016 failed coup.
The provincial security directorate in Turkey's eastern Van province was quoted by Anadolu as saying 12 suspects were arrested during simultaneous operations in the Van and Hakkari provinces.
FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, in which 251 people were martyred and nearly 2,200 injured, Anadolu said adding: 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.
Since the coup attempt, about 80,000 people have been held pending trial and some 150,000 civil servants, military personnel and others sacked or suspended.
What is Fethullah Gulen?
In an article with the above title Germany-based American writer Frederick William Engdahl provides insight into Fethullah Gulen life:
When Gulen fled to Pennsylvania in 1999, Turkish prosecutors demanded a ten-year sentence against him for having "founded an organization that sought to destroy the secular apparatus of state and establish a theocratic state."
At that time the US Government's Department of Homeland Security and the US State Department both opposed Gulen's application for what was called a "preference visa as an alien of extraordinary ability in the field of education."
They presented arguments demonstrating that the fifth-grade dropout, Fethullah Gulen, should not be granted a preference visa.
However, over the objections of the FBI, of the US State Department, and of the US Department of Homeland Security, three former CIA operatives intervened and managed to secure a Green Card and permanent US residency for Gulen.
The three CIA people supporting Gulen's Green Card application in 2007 were former US Ambassador to Turkey, Morton Abramowitz, CIA officials George Fidas and Graham E. Fuller.
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