Turkey’s Erdoğanist columnist: Bitcoin ‘a secret communication tool’ used by Gülen followers

Abdurrahman Dilipak, a columnist writing for the staunchly pro-government Yeni Akit daily

Pro-government Yeni Akit newspaper’s staunchly Erdoğanist columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak alleged in his column that Bitcoin is “a secret communication tool” used by the alleged followers of the Gülen movement. Dilipak’s claim came in response to public outrage over Turkish government’s jailing of thousands of people for simply using a mobile phone messaging application, ByLock.

“Let’s us keep in mind that these FETÖ supporters have used not only ByLock, but many other systems. They have utilized satellite phones, Raspbery Pi and Deep web as well. They used now-popular Bitcoin, too. Many people are not even aware that Bitcoins are an encrypted, secret communication tool. This way it is possible to transfer information and money,” Dilipak said in his column on Nov 11.

FETÖ is a derogatory term coined by the Turkey’s authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan government and his henchmen to refer to members of the civic Gülen movement.

Turkish authorities believe using ByLock is a sign of being a member of the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The mobile phone application ByLock is seen as the top communication tool among members of the group.

“Thousands of Turkish citizens have been arbitrarily detained for their alleged use of the encrypted communications app ByLock,” US-based think tank Freedom House said, underlining that numerous users have been deemed guilty by association for simply downloading the app, in its recent report.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

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)

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