The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has issued detention warrants for 42 people working at Turkey’s Interior Ministry over alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
Police teams began the detentions of the individuals who are accused of using a smart phone application known as ByLock on Tuesday morning and have detained 12 people so far.
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 Tuesday.
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.