IZMIR, Turkey

At least 19 suspects have been arrested in Turkey for suspected links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup in the country, a security source said Wednesday.

Local police in the western Izmir province carried out simultaneous operations in five cities, said the source who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

At least 19 suspects were arrested, including two expelled police chiefs found to be using ByLock — FETO’s encrypted smartphone messaging app — and contacting terror affiliates via payphone.

Security forces are searching for five remaining suspects in the Aegean province of Izmir.

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.

Turkey 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.

*Writing by Havva Kara Aydin

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