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115 detained in Tekirdağ over ByLock use

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Turkish police teams on Sunday detained 115 people from various professions in Tekirdağ province on accusations that they use a smart phone application known as ByLock, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

According to the report, the Tekirdağ Prosecutor’s Office issued arrest warrants for 127 people who allegedly used the application. Police detained 115 suspects during the operation.
On Saturday the Manisa Prosecutor’s Office issued arrest warrants for 250 individuals for alleged ByLock use, with arrest warrants issued for 12 people in Mersin province for the same reason.

Turkish authorities believe using ByLock indicates membership in the Gülen movement, which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the government accuse of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

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.

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