Prosecutor issues detention warrant for 85 education, energy ministries staff in coup attempt probe, nearly 40 detained
ANKARAThe Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office on May 16 ordered the detention of 85 staff from the energy and education ministries in an investigation into the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ), which is believed to have been behind the July 2016 failed coup attempt, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.
Some 60 of the detention warrants were for Energy Ministry personnel and related institutions, while the other 25 were for the Education Ministry, the agency said.
Almost 40 of the suspects have been detained in operations so far and were taken to police headquarters.
The suspects were reportedly users of ByLock, an encrypted smartphone messaging application used by followers of the Gülen Movement, with most of them being former ministry staff who had previously been dismissed from their duties.
Separately, three members of Turkey’s underwater commando team with alleged links to the Gülen movement were apprehended in the northwestern border province of Edirne on May 16, Doğan News Agency has reported.
One first lieutenant and two staff sergeant commandoes, identified only by the initials A.Ç., Y.Ö. and M.Ö., had reportedly played an active role in the coup attempt and allegedly have been tasked with taking President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hostage on the night of the coup attempt at Istanbul’s Huber Palace.
Upon receiving an intelligence, counter-terrorism police detained the three commandoes while they were about to flee abroad in a field near the exit of the Istanbul-Edirne highway.
They were being sought as fugitives by the Ankara 4th high criminal court on charges of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order,” the agency said.
According to their initial testimonies, the three reportedly confessed their links to the Gülen Movement, adding that they had been informed about the coup attempt five days earlier.
The plan was to get the president from the Huber Palace and take him to Samandıra before abducting him on board a ship off a coast on the Marmara Sea, the soldiers reportedly said.
However, they were subsequently diverted to the Akıncı air base in the capital Ankara upon a phone call after it was revealed that Erdoğan had already set out to the Mediterranean resort of Marmaris where he would spend his holiday.
Some 50,000 people have been arrested in court cases launched into supporters of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, the leader of the movement.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is set to push for Gülen’s extradition in his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington on May 16.
A total of some 150,000 people, mainly civil servants, security personnel and academics have been suspended or dismissed after the attempted takeover.