Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) has identified 31,000 previously unknown ByLock users, among whom are employees of important public agencies, according to the state-run TRT Haber news portal. According to the report, the new list will soon be submitted to the Ankara Prosecutor’s Office for a formal indictment.
Turkish government believes using ByLock is a sign of being a Gülenist as they see the mobile phone application as the top communication tool among the group. Since the last year’s coup attempt, tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers, businessmen, teachers, civil servants etc. have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
According to Turkey’s Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK), at least 102,000 people have so far been detained over alleged use of the app. “A list of 102,000 people has been sent to us from courts. We have prepared reports and met the demands of the courts one by one, whichever court has the investigation files of these people on the list,” Ömer Fatih Sayan, the head of BTK, told the pro-government Sabah daily in June 2017.
The list includes people from police forces, military, judiciary system, education system and top state institutions.
Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch the ruling 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.
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 turkey purge.com)