24 detained over alleged Gülen links, 18 arrested for alleged ByLock use

While a total of 24 people including former police officers, the Scientific as well as employees from the Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBİTAK) and Turkish defense company ROKETSAN were detained over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, 18 out of 25 former police officers, who were recently detained, were arrested due to their alleged use of a smart phone application known as ByLock on Wedenesday.

Simultaneous raids were conducted by police across six provinces on Wednesday morning as part of an İzmir-based operation conducted by the Ödemiş Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office to detain 34 people for whom detention warrants were issued. Twenty-four of the suspects were detained while police teams search for the remaining 10 individuals.

Meanwhile, 18 out of 25 former police officers who were recently detained as part of an Erzincan-based operation across 11 provinces, have been arrested due to their use of a smart phone application known as ByLock. Seven of the police officers were released on judicial probation. Turkish authorities under Erdoğan regime believe ByLock is a communication tool between members of the Gülen movement.

Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since a failed coup attempt last July. The police officers had already been dismissed by means of recent decrees issued by the Turkish government in the aftermath of the coup attempt.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called the coup “a great gift of God” and pinned the blame on the Gülen movement, inspired by US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

Although the Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup. Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

About 130,000 people have been purged from state bodies, 92,000 detained and 45,000 arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and a comedian.

March 1, 2017


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