An indictment prepared by an İstanbul prosecutor seeks a jail sentence of from seven-and-a-half to 15 years for 15 academics from the İstanbul-based Marmara University due to their alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement.
The academics, including associate professors and research assistants, are accused of membership in a terrorist organization.
Public prosecutor Mehmet Şenay Baygın, who drafted the indictment, has presented as evidence of the academics’ links to the Gülen movement their bank accounts at the now-closed and Gülen-affiliated Bank Asya and their use of a smart phone application known as Bylock.
Turkish prosecutors claim ByLock is the top communication tool among members of the Gülen movement. Thousands of people have been arrested due to their use of ByLock since a failed coup attempt on July 15.
Turkey experienced a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.
Although the Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup. 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 135,000 people have been purged from state bodies and 43,000 arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian.