Twenty-eight of 33 previosuly detained academics were referred to court on Monday, with an İstanbul prosecutor demanding their arrest over the use of a smart phone application named ByLock, which is considered by the Turkish government to be “proof” of a connection to Gülen movement.
The accused academics are working for the country’s prestigious İstanbul Technical University (İTÜ).
The Gülen movement is held responsible by the government for a failed coup in Turkey on July 15, 2016, although no credible evidence has been presented to the public. The peaceful movement rejects the allegations, and Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has denounced anyone who believes in his principles who might have participated in the coup.
A leaked report from the European Union’s intelligence agency in January revealed that there is no evidence of Gülen’s masterminding of the coup attempt. Some anonymous NATO sources even claim that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan staged the coup as a pretext to undertake a purge.
Over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement since the coup attempt, according to a statement by the labor minister on Jan. 10. As of Feb. 1, 89,775 people were being held without charge, with an additional 43,885 in pre-trial detention due to their alleged links to the movement.