Turkey detains dozens of air force pilots in coup probe

Turkey detains dozens of air force pilots in coup probe

ISTANBUL - Reuters
Turkey detains dozens of air force pilots in coup probe

DHA Photo

Turkish police detained 45 air force pilots and were to take in dozens more on Oct. 27 in the latest operations following the July 15 coup attempt.

The operation targeting suspected followers of U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gülen, who Ankara blames for the attempt, focused on an air base in the Central Anatolian province of Konya and spread across 17 provinces. 

Prosecutors issued detention warrants for a total of 71 lieutenants and two colonels, state-run Anadolu Agency said. 

Turkey has arrested 35,000 people and sacked or suspended tens of thousands of others in the military, police, judiciary, civil service and elsewhere since the coup attempt.

Those detained on Oct. 27 were accused of “armed rebellion against the Turkish Republic” and membership of the Gülen movement, called the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ) by the government and prosecutors. 
The latest detentions bring to more than 300 the number of pilots dismissed or arrested in the post-coup attempt probe. 

The government is working on projects to cover the sudden shortage in air force pilot numbers and will seek to draw back pilots from civil aviation, daily Habertürk reported on Oct. 27. 

Police last week detained 47 soldiers in a similar operation focused on the Konya base, of which 29 were subsequently remanded in custody.  

Meanwhile, 26 police officers were referred to a court in the northwestern province of Bursa on Oct. 27 for using a smartphone messaging app, ByLock, which is suspected to have been used widely by Gülenists.