Former football player detained over ByLock use in İstanbul

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Brazil`s Neymar JR (L) vies for the ball with Turkey`s Bekir Irtegün (R) during a friendly football match Turkey vs Brazil on November 12, 2014 at Fenerbahce Sukru Saracoglu stadium in Istanbul. AFP PHOTO/OZAN KOSE / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

Turkish police have detained former Başakşehir and Fenerbahçe football player Bekir İrtegün over the alleged use of a smart phone application known as ByLock, Habertürk reported on Friday.

İrtegün had previously tried to leave Turkey but was prevented by police, who said he was prohibited from going abroad.

According to the report, İrtegün filed a petition with the prosecutor’s office through his lawyer and explained who uploaded ByLock on his phone and with whom he chatted.
The prosecutor’s office reportedly issued a detention warrant after receiving the petition and asked İrtegün to turn himself in.

İrtegün gave himself up on Friday at the Istanbul Police Department’s organized crimes unit.

The detention decision was issued 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.

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