Murat Kelkitlioğlu, the editor-in-chief of pro-Erdoğan Akşam daily, has written in his Tuesday column that Turkey’s notorious National Intelligence Organization (MİT) has prepared a new list of 130.000 ByLock users including very prominent Turkish businessmen, NGO executives and renowned journalists.
Turkish authorities believe ByLock, a smart phone application open to use of public, is the top communication tool among the followers of the 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 allegedly using ByLock since the failed coup attempt.
A well-known Erdoğan propagandist Kelkitlioğlu has also written in his column that MİT has recently sent a list of 16,000 ByLock users to İstanbul Police Department and İstanbul police has confiscated the passports of all these 16,000 people as a first measure. Kelkitlioğlu has also written that passports of all those named in the latest MİT list have been canceled by the authorities beside of continuing investigations about 30,000 people.
A military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 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 them in custody.
According to a report by the state-run Anadolu news agency on May 28, 154,694 individuals have been detained and 50,136 have been jailed due to alleged Gülen links since the failed coup attempt.
May 30, 2017