16 doctors, nurses, academics detained for using ByLock application

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A total of 12 health workers, including doctors, nurses and midwives, and four academics were detained in provinces across Turkey as part of investigations into users of ByLock, a smartphone application that Turkish authorities believe followers of the faith-based Gülen movement use for communication.

Turkish police carried out simultaneous operations in Eskişehir, Bursa, Giresun and Isparta provinces and took 12 people, including doctors, nurses, dentists, x-ray technicians, into custody.

Meanwhile, four academics from the Rize-based Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University were detained in an operation on Wednesday that targeted followers of the Gülen movement, which the Turkish government accuses of masterminding a coup attempt on July 15 of last year. The detainees include Prof. Dr. Ekrem A., the former dean of the university’s medical faculty.

Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since a failed coup attempt last July.

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 Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called the coup “a great gift of God” and pinned the blame on the Gülen movement, inspired by US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

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. (Turkey Purge)

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