Fifteen people working for the İzmir Metropolitan Municipality were detained after police raided their homes on Monday morning on the grounds that they use a smart phone application known as ByLock.
The municipal employees were detained as part of an investigation, overseen by the İzmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, into the faith-based Gülen movement, which is accused by the government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15.
The detainees are accused of using the smart phone application ByLock, which according to 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, inspired by Gülen. The movement strongly denies any involvement in the coup attempt.