50 detained in Hatay province over ByLock use

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Turkish police teams on Thursday detained 50 individuals in Hatay province on allegations of use of a smart phone application known as ByLock.

Fifty people, including officers who were dismissed from their positions by government decree, were detained as part of an investigation into the faith-based Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of having 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 the group.

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 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 since the coup attempt.

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