At least 30 people, including police chiefs, police officers and engineers, were detained across Turkey late Saturday over alleged ties with the Gülen movement. Witch hunt operation, which has been based in the eastern province of Ağrı this time, was launched in 26 provinces over alleged use of the ByLock mobile phone application, according to information in a statement released by Ağrı Governor’s Office.
The statement said that the Chief Public Prosecutor of Ağrı issued arrest warrants against 38 people for allegedly using the ByLock messaging app. Turkish government believe ByLock is a communication tool between members of the Gülen movement. Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for allegedly using ByLock since a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
Those arrested were brought to Ağrı Police Department. The operation is ongoing to apprehend the remaining eight people.
Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called the coup “a great gift of God” and pinned the blame on the Gülen movement, inspired by US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.
Although the Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup. Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, 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.
Over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement since the coup attempt, according to a statement by the labor minister on Jan. 10. As of Feb. 1, According to figures compiled by turkeypurge.com which has been monitoring human rights violations in Turkey’s after failed coup on July 15, 2016, over 92,500 people were detained, 45,882 people were jailed with pre-trial arrest due to their alleged links to the movement.
Feb. 26, 2017.