The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has issued detention warrants for 159 individuals over the alleged use of a smart phone application known as ByLock, the t24 news website reported on Friday.
According to the report, the detention warrants were issued for 105 former police officers in 13 provinces, 14 former and six active Forestry and Water Affairs Ministry staff members and 34 people who used to work for closed-down media organizations 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.
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.