70-year-old Turkish woman intending Hajj pilgrim detained on coup charges at İstanbul airport

A 70-year-old Turkish woman, who is a prospective Hajj pilgrim, was detained by Turkish police on coup charges at İstanbul’s Atatürk on Thursday night.

According to the TR724 news portal, Kıymet G., who is being held by police, was taken into custody while she was waiting to get on a Turkish Airlines flight for the Muslim holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The old woman was reportedly detained as part of an investigation into the Gülen movement over her alleged use of a smart phone application known as ByLock.

Turkish authorities believe using ByLock is a sign of being a Gülen follower as they see the mobile phone application as the top communication tool among the movement. Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, 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 participants of the Gülen movement in jails.

Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ has announced on July 7, 2017 that at least 50,504 people have been arrested and 168,801 have been the subject of legal proceedings (investigations, detentions etc.) in Turkey in the framework of the Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement since the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016. Among the detainees are some 560 children aged between 0 to 6. Also, arrest warrants have been issued for 8,069 people, according to Bozdağ. (turkeypurge.com)

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