Five members of the judiciary who were expelled from their posts due to their use of a smart phone application known as ByLock by the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) have been reinstated by the HSYK, according to a story in the Hürriyet daily on Friday.
ByLock is considered by the Turkish authorities to be the top communication tool among followers of the faith-based Gülen movement, which is accused by the government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
The HSYK decided to reinstate the five judges and prosecutors after conducting an investigation into them which revealed that some of these judges and prosecutors had their ADSL passwords stolen, while some of them shared their passwords with others.
The HSYK also reportedly took into consideration the social surroundings of the judges and prosecutors while making its decision to reinstate them.
In the meantime, requests by one judge and one prosecutor to be reinstated to their posts have been rejected by the HSYK.
The military coup attempt on July 15 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.
In the currently ongoing post-coup purge, over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement, according to a statement by the labor minister on Jan. 10. As of March 1, 93,248 people were being held without charge, with an additional 46,274 in pre-trial detention.
A total of 7,316 academics were dismissed, and 4,070 judges and prosecutors were purged over alleged coup involvement or terrorist links.