IZMIR, Turkey 

Turkish security forces arrested 130 soldiers on Wednesday in operations centered in the western Izmir province over alleged links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup.

Operations were held across 47 provinces in the country, with the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in Izmir issuing arrest warrants for a total of 148 suspects, 103 of whom were on-duty.

A colonel, as well as lieutenants, majors, captains, sergeants and specialist sergeants were among those sought in the operations against the alleged presence of FETO in the Turkish Armed Forces, according to the prosecutor’s office.

The suspects are accused of communicating with FETO’s “covert imams” — senior FETO operatives — via pay phone.

Twelve of the suspects belonged to the land forces, while 47 were from air force, 18 from the navy, 38 from the gendarmerie, and 19 from the coast guard. Fourteen of the suspects were graduates of military schools that were disbanded after the coup attempt.

FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and 2,734 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.

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