The İstanbul and Bolu chief public prosecutor’s offices on Thursday issued detention warrants for a total of 77 people for alleged use of a smart phone application known as ByLock, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
According to the report, 33 people have been detained in police operations in 30 provinces across Turkey.
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 on July 15, 2016, a claim the movement denies.
Tens of thousands of people have been 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.
According to a European Commission (EC) report on April 17, “since the introduction of the state of emergency on July 20,2016, over 150 000 people were taken into custody, 78 000 were arrested and over 110 000 civil servants were dismissed.”
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Dec. 12, 2017 that 234,419 passports had been revoked as part of investigations into the movement since the failed coup.
On Nov. 16, 2017 Soylu said eight holdings and 1,020 companies were seized as part of operations against the movement.