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20 former public bank employees detained over ByLock use

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Detention warrants were issued on Thursday for 20 people who used to work at public banks but were suspended or expelled from their posts due to alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, on the grounds that they use a smart phone application known as ByLock.

Eleven of the 20 former bank employees were detained on Thursday as part of the investigation conducted by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Turkish authorities consider ByLock to be the top communication tool among the followers of the movement.

Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

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.

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 report by the state-run Anadolu news agency on May 28, 154,694 individuals have been detained and 50,136 have been jailed due to alleged Gülen links since the failed coup attempt.

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