Turkish police teams on Tuesday detained 18 individuals in Karaman province on allegations that they use a smart phone application known as ByLock.
The Karaman Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for 23 people and detained 18, accused of being followers of the faith-based Gülen movement, which is claimed by the Turkish government to have masterminded a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The movement strongly denies any involvement in the putsch.
Turkish authorities believe using ByLock is a sign of being a Gülen follower as they see the mobile phone application as the top communication tool among Gülen followers.
Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the failed coup attempt.
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.
Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ has announced on July 7, 2017 that at least 50,504 people have been arrested and 168,801 have been the subject of legal proceedings.