Fifteen academics who were claimed to be using ByLock, a smart phone messaging application, were detained on Saturday as part of a witch-hunt targeting the Gülen movement.
Detention warrants issued for 23 faculty members from Turkey’s Ege University. While 15 of them have been so far detained during operations in İzmir, Manisa and Ankara provinces, the remaining eight are still wanted.
Turkish prosecutors claim that ByLock is the top communication tool among members of the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding a July 15 coup attempt. Critics, however, have blasted the government for detaining thousands simply for using a mobile application.
More than 5,070 academics have been dismissed by the government as part of a witch-hunt targeting the Gülen movement by means of a recent decree issued under the state of emergency declared on July. 20.
Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.
Turkish Islamic scholar 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.
More than 100,000 people have been purged from state bodies, 70,000 investigated and 32,000 arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian. (Turkey Purge)