Sixteen employees at Turkish telecommunications giant Türk Telekom have been detained in the second wave of an operation launched against the company targeting alleged followers of the faith-based Gülen movement for their use of a smart phone application.
As part of an investigation initiated by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, detention warrants have been issued for 20 people who work for Türk Telekom. Sixteen of them were detained after police raided their homes on Wednesday morning.
The detainees are accused of using smart phone application ByLock, which according to the prosecutors, is the top communication tool among members of the Gülen movement, accused by the government of masterminding a coup attempt on July 15. Critics, however, have blasted the government for detaining thousands simply for using a mobile application.
Tens of thousands of civil servants have either been dismissed or arrested for using the application. Critics say the use of a technological application is not a criminal activity nor is it evidence of membership in a terrorist organization.
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. The movement strongly denies any involvement in the coup attempt.
Previously, 55 Türk Telekom employees were arrested as part of the same investigation.