39 including ministry staff sought by prosecutor over Gülen links

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The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Wednesday issued detention warrants for 39 people, including 11 former staff members of the Ministry of Family and Social Policy and the Economy Ministry, as part of an investigation into the faith-based Gülen movement, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

According to the report the suspects are accused of using ByLock, a controversial mobile phone application.

Turkish authorities believe ByLock is a communication tool among followers of the Gülen movement, which is accused by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government of orchestrating a failed coup in 2016, a claim the movement denies.

Tens of thousands of people, including civil servants, police officers, soldiers, businessmen and homemakers, have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the failed coup attempt.

The Supreme Court of Appeals’ Assembly of Criminal Chambers ruled in September 2017 that the ByLock smart phone application is to be considered evidence of membership in a terrorist organization following Turkish Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül’s remarks on ByLock constituting strong evidence of terrorist organization membership.

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