Turkish police teams on Tuesday detained 16 people, including a produce vendor, in an Aksaray-based coup probe on accusations that they use a smart phone application known as ByLock, the Doğan news agency reported.
One of the alleged ByLock users, Gülen D., was detained in a market where she was selling tomatoes and peppers. Upon being detained Gülen D. said: “Why are you detaining me? There must be a misunderstanding. I don’t have any problems with anyone. What am I going to do with my vegetables? When will I be released?”
Gülen D. was released briefly after she was questioned at a police station on Tuesday.
The Aksaray Chief Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for 27 people in İstanbul, Antalya, Kayseri, Kırıkkale, Ankara, Konya, Balıkesir and Eskişehir provinces as part of an investigation into the faith-based Gülen movement, accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
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.