Report: Turkish Minister Kaya divorced from her husband over his alleged use of ByLock

Turkish Minister of Family and Social Policy Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya.

Turkish Minister of Family and Social Policy Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya was reportedly divorced from her husband, Psychologist İlyas Kaya, over his alleged use of mobile phone messaging application ByLock, Cumhuriyet daily reported on Monday.

According to the report, Fox TV anchor İsmail Küçükkaya has claimed on Monday that Minister Kaya, who has two children, was divorced from her husband over his ByLock use.

Minister Kaya has stated on her Twitter account on Monday that “The claims, which have been taken place about me and my husband in certain media outlets, are completely false. I am launching legal process against these slanders.”

Turkish authorities believe that ByLock is a communication tool among the alleged followers of the Gülen movement. Tens of thousands of people, including civil servants, police officers, soldiers, businessmen and homemakers, have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Minister Kaya has been known with her provocative acts targeting the European governments under the directives of Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Misnter Kaya had traveled to Rotterdam on March 11, 2017, to give a speech about supporting a Turkish referendum that would give  President Erdoğan more power although the Dutch government had made clear that it did not want Turkish ministers campaigning for the referendum in the Netherlands. The government therefore refused landing rights for a plane bringing Turkey’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu to the country to give a campaign speech to Dutch-Turks.

After this happened, Minister Kaya had driven to Rotterdam from Germany to give the speech instead, despite the Netherlands not allowing this. The Turkish consulate in Rotterdam did not announce that Minister Kaya was heading to the city. But according to Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, the consul did call on Dutch-Turks to come to the consulate on social media.

Aboutaleb forbade Kaya from entering the consulate. After hours of unsuccessful negotiations about Kaya leaving the Netherlands voluntarily, the Turkish Minister had been classified an undesired foreigner and escorted to the border with Germany by the police. After returning to Turkey Kaya had said that the Netherlands robbed her of her fundamental rights and the Rotterdam police treated her entourage with undue force.

In the diplomatic fallout that followed Erdoğan had accused the Netherlands of fascism and Nazism and mass murder in Srebrenica. He had also imposed a number of non-economic sanctions against the Netherlands and demanded an apology. Prime Minister Mark Rutte, however, had stood by the steps taken.

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 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 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.

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