TURKEY

Arrest warrants out for over 140 ministry staff

ARREST WARRANTS OUT FOR OVER 140 MINISTRY STAFF

The Chief Public Prosecutor's Office in Ankara issued arrest warrants for 121 National Education Ministry personnel and 21 former Ministry of Youth and Sports staff on Tuesday as part of a probe into the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).

So far, 82 suspects have been arrested by Tuesday afternoon.

The suspects were accused of using the ByLock mobile app that was allegedly used by Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) members during last year's deadly defeated coup.

In a statement, the prosecutor's office said the Ankara-based probe was being conducted throughout eight provinces' public institutions and organizations.

A total of 116 out of 121 Ministry of National Education staff had already been dismissed for using the ByLock app, the statement said.

Also on Tuesday, seven soldiers on active duty were arrested from the Black Sea province of Giresun as part of nationwide anti-FETO operations in eight provinces.

Seven additional suspects in central Aksaray and western Sakarya provinces were also arrested.

The ByLock smartphone app is believed to have been cracked by Turkish security agencies, allowing them to identify tens of thousands of suspected FETO supporters.

Turkey accuses FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen of having orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 250 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.

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