The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has issued detention warrants for 39 former and one active Interior Ministry staff members over the use of a smart phone application known as ByLock.
The detention warrants were issued for a total of 40 people, 39 of whom were either dismissed or suspended from their positions at the Interior Ministry under government decrees, 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 249 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 and 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.