Turkish prosecutors have issued detention warrants for 500 high-ranking military officers across 57 provinces for their use of a smart phone application known as ByLock.
On Saturday, simultaneous raids were being conducted in dozens of locations across 57 provinces to detain the officers. As many as 2,000 police officers were taking part in the operation which is coordinated by the İstanbul Police Department Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime Unit.
The officers are accused of using the ByLock smart phone application, 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. The movement strongly denies any involvement in the coup attempt.