S.Ç., a physician who was fired from her job by government decree last year, was arrested by a court in Bolu province on Thursday for using the ByLock smart phone application, which Turkish authorities believe is a communication tool among followers of the faith-based Gülen movement, accused by the government of masterminding a failed coup in Turkey last year.
According to the Bolu Gündem newspaper, S.Ç. was detained by police early on Thursday in a raid on her house. She was brought before a Bolu court the same day, arrested and put in pretrial detention in Bolu F Type Prison.
On Sept. 26, The Supreme Court of Appeals’ Assembly of Criminal Chambers has ruled the ByLock smart phone application to be considered evidence of membership in a terrorist organization following Turkish Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül’s remarks on ByLock being strong evidence of terrorist organization membership.
According to the decision, ByLock will be considered evidence in and of itself for prosecution on charges of 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.
The military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 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. The movement denies any involvement.
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.