More than 100 Turkish airmen posted abroad charged with terror group membership - Sabah

More than 100 Turkish Air Force pilots and non-commissioned officers posted abroad after the 2016 failed coup attempt, including those on the F-35 advanced fighter project in the United States, have been charged with membership in a terror organisation, the pro-government Sabah newspaper reported.

The pilots and non-commissioned officers are accused of being members of the Gülen movement, which the government calls the Fethullahist Terror Organisation (FETÖ) and accuses of carrying out the 2016 coup in which more than 200 people were killed. Sabah said the servicemen used their foreign postings to flee Turkey.

U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gülen was a former close ally of Turkey’s government until the two wings of Turkey’s Islamist fell out with one another, their rivalry coming to a head in late 2013 when prosecutors linked to the movement brought corruption charges against government ministers and their relatives.

The pilots and officers who fled Turkey were assigned to missions in Germany, France, Greece and the United States, Sabah said.

A bill demanding the suspension of weapons sales to Turkey, including more than 100 F-35s, is making its way through U.S. Congress in response to a string of disputes between Washington and Ankara.