Former AKP deputy Şükrü Önder detained over alleged ByLock use

Former Justice and Development Party (AKP) Yalova deputy Şükrü Önder.

Former Justice and Development Party (AKP) Yalova deputy Şükrü Önder has been detained for his use of a smart phone application known as ByLock, according to a statement from the Yalova Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Thursday. Önder served as an AKP deputy in the Parliament between 2002-2007.

Turkish authorities consider ByLock to be the top communication tool among the followers of the faith-based Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the failed coup attempt.


Meanwhile, a Samsun teacher, identified as Osman K., was detained after a repairman found in his computer a CD that features speeches by Turkish-Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, Turkey Purge news website reported on Thursday.

Turkish government accuses Gülen of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 while the US-based cleric denies any involvement.

Meanwhile, Osman K., asked a repairman in Samsun’s İlkadım district to take out an audio CD jammed in his laptop’s CD-ROM; and left the store. When the repairman found out that the jammed CD bears Gülen’s name on it, he reported the teacher to police as a member of the Gülen movement. The audio CD, titled Kalbin Miraci, featured faith-based sermons Gülen delivered at mosques in Turkey in the past.

Police detained Osman K. when he returned to the repair store to take his computer back.

A teacher with 23 years of experience in education business, Osman K. was earlier left unemployed when the government closed the private school he used to work for due to Gülen links.

Already dismissed from his job under a post-coup government decree over similar charges, Osman K. was referred the court after detention; and the court put him in pre-trial arrest on charge of membership to a terrorist organization.

Earlier, police in many provinces displayed Gülen’s books they seized as terror evidence. Turkey’a autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on multiple occasions, has called on Turkish people to report followers of movement in their surroundings to the police and prosecutors’ offices so that they can be prosecuted for their links to the movement.

Turkey survived a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President 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.

At least 161,751 people were detained or investigated and 50,334 people were arrested 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, according to statistics reported by state-run Anadolu news agency by basing on information taken from the officials from Turkey’s Justice Minsitry on June 13. (SCF with & June 22, 2017

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