ISTANBUL

Turkish authorities arrested 26 people on Saturday for suspected links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup.

The arrests came after the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office issued warrants for 51 suspects accused of using ByLock, the terror group’s encrypted smartphone messaging app.

The office’s Department for Terror and Organized Crime conducted simultaneous operations in six Turkish provinces – Adiyaman, Ankara, Izmir, Kocaeli, Manisa, and Van.

At least 26 suspects found to be part of the terror group’s regional structure have been arrested so far, with operations underway to track down and apprehend the remaining ones, authorities said.

Documents including organizational notes and multiple digital materials were seized in the raids.

FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, in which 251 people were martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Turkey 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.

* Writing by Havva Kara Aydin

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