Turkish prosecutors have issued detention warrants for 43 people working at the Prime Ministry on the grounds that they have 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 Monday morning.
Turkish authorities believe ByLock is the top communication tool among the followers of the Gülen movement.
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.
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.
Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ announced on July 7, 2017 that at least 50,504 people have been arrested and 168,801 have been the subject of legal proceedings due to Gülen links.