Turkish gov’t issues detention warrants for 19 former police chiefs, 12 of them arrested over ByLock

Turkish government has detained 12 police chiefs who were previously dismissed from duties as part of massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement in 9 provinces on Sunday.

It was reported that the detentions have followed detention warrants issued by İstanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 19 former police chiefs over their alleged use of a smart phone application known as ByLock.

Also in rural areas of Kars province, 4 people were detained by gendermarie forces on Sunday following a decision of arrest warrant was given by a local Penal Court of Peace over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. It was claimed that the detained people used to use ByLock.

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. Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the controversial coup attempt.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch 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’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. Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15.

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