The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has issued detention warrants for 139 people working at the Education Ministry, Development Ministry and the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality over alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement.
Police teams began the detentions of the individuals who are accused of using a smart phone application known as ByLock on Wednesday morning.
Turkish authorities believe ByLock is the top communication tool among the followers of the Gülen movement which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15.
Some of the individuals for whom detention warrants were issued had already been fired from their jobs through government decrees after the coup attempt on allegations that they had links to the Gülen movement, according to a statement released by the prosecutor’s office on Wednesday.
The 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 Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.
Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, 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.
According to a statement from Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ on May 6, 149,833 people have been investigated and 48,636 have been jailed as part of an investigation targeting the Gülen movement since the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey.