Many detained over alleged use of ByLock, one arrested over cancelling Digiturk subscription

At least 14 people were detained in Bolu province as part of a post-coup witch hunt targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement on Monday. Detainees, accused of using ByLock smartphone application, include 7 students, 5 business executives, 1 doctor and 1 academic.

Also, Emine Şennur Şen, the sister-in-law of Turkey’s major coup suspect Adil Öksüz was put under pre-trial arrest on Monday over the charge of having used ByLock. A Sakarya court ruled on her arrest as part of an investigation into the movement.

ByLock is considered by Turkish authorities to be the top communication tool among followers of the Gülen movement, which is accused by the 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 a failed coup attempt last July.

Critics often blast the government for a massive purge it is carrying out that violates the principle of individual criminal responsibility. Meanwhile, question marks are yet to simmer down also over accusations against the actual suspect Adil Öksüz as he was released after being detained immediately after the coup attempt.

Beside of ByLock, now, cancelling subscription to the leading pay TV operator, Digiturk has also been considered among evidence in post-coup investigations targeting the Gülen movement. An Antalya court ruled on continuation of arrest for a suspect after the judge found out that the arrestee had cancelled his subscription to Digiturk for removing a number of Gülen-linked TV channels from its line-ups late in 2015.

The court asked TV operator whether the suspect had cancelled the subscription and requested Digiturk to send to the court a copy of the recorded phone conversation during which the suspect confirmed cancellation to a Digiturk sales representative.

The court ruled that the defendant had links to the movement. Among the evidences of link to the movement according to indictments prepared so far are putting money into Bank Asya, being member of particular labor unions and using ByLock mobile application.

Digiturk has suffered mass cancellations on multiple occasions over the recent past. Many cancelled their subscriptions after the TV platform banned critical channels from its list.

The government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding the July 15 coup attempt while the latter strongly denies any involvement. Turkish government has so far detained about 120,000 people and arrested some 50,000 over the faintest –true or alleged– links to the Gülen movement. (SCF with April 25, 2017


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