ANKARA/IZMIR, Turkey

Turkish security forces arrested 27 more suspects as part of ongoing operations for their alleged links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup, security sources said on Wednesday.

In the capital Ankara, six more people arrested after 21 had been nabbed earlier, said the source who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

This came after arrest warrants were issued Tuesday to nab a total of 37 suspects, including six covert imams and 31 doctors, as part of an investigation into the terror group’s infiltration of Gulhane Military Medical Academy (GATA).

Fourteen of the doctors, who stand accused of periodically making contact with terror affiliates via pay phones and land lines, were on active duty, the source said.

Separately, 21 more suspects were arrested in the Aegean province of Izmir as part of an operation against the terror group’s presence in the Turkish Armed Forces, raising the total number of arrested to 250, said a security source on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

The arrests came after the prosecutors in Izmir province issued warrants for 304 suspects, including 295 active-duty personnel of the Turkish Armed Forces. Arrest warrants for nine suspects were canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, it said.

The suspects are accused of communicating by payphone with “covert imams” who are senior FETO members.

Izmir-based operations are ongoing for the remaining 45 suspects in 50 provinces, the source added.

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

Since the coup attempt, tens of thousands of FETO suspects have been arrested, including many in the armed forces, police, judicial system, and education sector.

* Writing by Sena Guler

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