By Zafer Fatih Beyaz, Serdar Acil and Sertac Bulur
ANKARA (AA) – Eighty-five on-duty soldiers suspected of links to Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the terrorist group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey, were arrested Friday, according to prosecutors in the capital Ankara.
The arrests came after warrants were issued by the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in the capital Ankara for 110 soldiers, as part of a probe of FETO infiltration of the Turkish Air Forces Command.
The soldiers — who were learned to be periodically communicating the “covert imams” of the organization — include three colonels, two lieutenant colonels, six squadron leaders, three captains, 18 first lieutenants, a second lieutenant and 77 sergeants, the prosecutor’s office said.
Five of the suspects were pilots in the command, it added.
The Ankara-based operations were initiated in 16 provinces across Turkey.
Remaining 25 suspects are still being sought.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 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.