Turkish police teams on Wednesday detained five people in Kırşehir and nine people in Karabük on accusations that they use a smart phone application known as ByLock, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
According to the report, five individuals, including some who were previously dismissed from their jobs, were detained in Kırşehir as part of an investigation overseen by the Kırşehir Chief Prosecutor’s Office into the faith based Gülen movement, accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
Nine people were detained in a Karabük-based coup probe targeting alleged ByLock users in seven cities, including Karabük, İstanbul, Van, İzmir, Ankara, Malatya and Çorum.
Turkish authorities believe using ByLock indicates membership in the Gülen movement
Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the failed coup attempt last year.
Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed 249 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.
Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15.
Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.