Detention warrants issued for 106 ‘matchmakers’ in Gülen network
The authorities on Dec. 18 issued detention warrants for 106 people believed to have worked as “matchmakers” for the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), accused of orchestrating Turkey’s July 2016 coup attempt, a spokesman for the Istanbul police has stated.
Some 65 of the suspects were detained in the operation, which was centered in Istanbul and covered 20 other provinces. Operations to locate the remaining suspects are ongoing.
The suspects were “marriage officials” for supporters of the U.S.-based Fethullah Gülen, believed to have helped set up arranged marriages for some of Gülen’s followers, the spokesman said.
Officials say the Gülen network closely monitored the personal and professional lives of many supporters, including their education, career and marriage.
Police and intelligence officials reportedly identified the suspects in a joint operation using conversations traced on ByLock, an encrypted messaging application commonly used by FETÖ supporters.
According to the findings, the “matchmakers” categorized potential spouses into five groups, “A,” “B,” “C,” “district” and “tourist,” in accordance with their education or interview statuses, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
The highest ranking group “A” included senior figures in the police and the judiciary, with categories “B” and “C” for members with lower statuses, while the “district” category stood for district governors or candidates and the “tourist” category covered foreign ministry, embassy or consular staff.
Last week, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced that a total of 102,596 unique users of ByLock were identified, with legal proceedings issued against 23,171 of them.
During a parliamentary session on the 2018 budget talks on Dec. 16, Soylu added that a total of 159,506 people were detained since July 15, 2016 and 47,523 of those were arrested by courts for their alleged links to FETÖ.
The minister also stated that another 44,038 people were dismissed from their duties over their links to the Gülen network since the attempted takeover.