A 58-year-old prospective Hajj pilgrim was reportedly detained on coup charges at İzmir’s Adnan Menderes Airport on Thursday night. According to a Twitter account named “Kaç Saat Oldu?” a woman identified as Hanife Işılak was taken into custody while she was waiting to get on a flight to Jeddah, on her way to the holy Muslim city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia.
The suspect was reportedly detained in an investigation as part of Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement. She is accused of using a smart phone application known as ByLock.
Turkish authorities believe using the mobile phone application ByLock is a sign of being a member 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 controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
This is not the first time a prospective Hajj pilgrim was detained on coup charges at airport. On August 10, Kıymet G. was taken into custody while she was waiting to get on a Turkish Airlines flight for Saudi Arabia.
Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic 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 them in custody.
Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup. (SCF with turkeypurge.com)