As Türkiye continues to fight the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which was behind a failed coup attempt in the country, Zekeriye Cerit, the so-called Turkmenistan director of the group, and another fugitive terrorist was arrested in Istanbul.
Upon a tipoff that the terrorists would flee abroad, two separate operations were carried out by the General Directorate of Security and Turkish anti-terror police, according to information received by Anadolu Agency (AA).
During the operation, Cerit, who is on the “Wanted for Terrorism” list, was arrested in Istanbul for laundering money belonging to the organization in FETÖ-owned associations and for being the director of a terrorist organization in Turkmenistan.
Also, $3,300 and 180 euros ($197.38) in cash, fake identity cards and a large number of digital materials were seized.
FETÖ orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, in Türkiye, in which 251 people were killed and 2,734 injured.
Türkiye accuses FETÖ of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.
FETÖ maintains a vast network of schools and other educational facilities throughout the world, with the United States being the terrorist group’s primary focus. These facilities, often presented as Turkish or international schools, primarily recruit FETÖ members and sympathizers as teachers and administrators. FETÖ schools are often accused of money laundering and financing the shadowy group’s activities through the schools’ profits and deals with FETÖ-affiliated businesses and vendors.
16-year archive decoded
Meanwhile, the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) marked another breakthrough in unearthing FETÖ’s deep roots.
After six years of work, the agency cracked two encrypted memory cards that contained 16 years of intelligence the terror group gathered.
The memory cards, along with a mobile phone, were obtained in 2017 from a secret witness codenamed “Garcon” who reportedly served as the secretary of FETÖ’s network within Türkiye’s police force.
At the time, the witness also gave the prosecution an “Updated List Book” that recorded various codes and information regarding all FETÖ members working at the General Directorate of Security.
When about 30% of the cards were decoded, Türkiye held countrywide raids against some 4,700 FETÖ members.
This week, MIT completed deciphering the remaining 70% of encrypted information, revealing archival data FETÖ kept in 55,000 separate files between 2000 and 2016, as well as personal information and notes about 320,000 police officers that served in the said period.
The cards also confirmed the presence of several officers and imams, along with journalists and bureaucrats, still actively working at public institutions on behalf of FETÖ.
The deciphered data is set to spur a large-scale operation against remnants of the terror group.