Turkish gov’t detains 23 people in Çorum over alleged links to Gülen movement

File photo.

Turkish police have detained 23 people in a Çorum on accusations that they use a smart phone application known as ByLock on Monday following the detention warrants issued by Çorum Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 33 people in eight provinces as part of an investigation into the Gülen movement.

It was also reported that some of these 33 people were earlier dismissed from their jobs by government decrees under the rule of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016 over their alleged links to the movement.

Turkish authorities believe using ByLock is a sign of being a Gülen movement member as they see the mobile phone application as the top communication tool among the group. Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Meanwhile, a Kırklareli man, identified as M.B., was detained while he was visiting his elder brother Ş.B., who has been under arrest over his alleged links to the Gülen movement in a prison in the province on Saturday. It was reported that a detention warrant had been earlier issued against the visitor M.B. over his alleged links to the movement. M.B. was rounded up by the law enforcement and later put in pre-trial arrest by the court in charge.

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)

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