Fifty-five women out of 73 for whom the İstanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office has issued detention warrants were detained by police on Friday for using ByLock, a smart phone application that authorities believe is a communication tool between members of the faith-based Gülen movement.
While the İstanbul Financial Crimes Unit police raided several locations in İstanbul on Friday, police operations took place in several other cities as part of an İstanbul-based operation against members of Gülen movement, which the government accuses of being behind a failed coup attempt on July 15.
Tens of thousands of people, mainly 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’s unprecedented witch-hunt had resulted in the imprisonment of 41,752 people as of Dec. 30, according to the tally of turkeypurge.com while 135,356 people have been removed from public sector jobs since July 15.
The movement denies any involvement in the coup attempt.