Turkey’s Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) has said that at least 102,000 Gülenists had used ByLock, a mobile application claimed to be the once-top communication tool among Gülen sympathizers.
“A list of 102,000 people has been sent to us from courts. We have prepared reports and met the demands of the courts one by one, whichever court has the investigation files of these people on the list,” Ömer Fatih Sayan, the head of BTK, told the pro-government Sabah daily.
ByLock is considered by Turkish authorities to be the top communication tool among followers of the Gülen group, which is accused by the government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
The group strongly denies any involvement and claims that a free messaging app cannot be taken as an evidence to jail hundreds of people.
“By exposing the records of which days, where and how many messages the names on the list, which the courts have sent us, exchanged correspondences, we have confirmed that they have used ByLock. By getting detailed records of their correspondences, we have once again determined that they have used ByLock,” Sayan said.
Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MİT) previously prepared a list of a total of 102,000 alleged users of the ByLock smartphone app and sent it to the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, which passed it onto local courts, for an investigation.
The list includes people from police forces, military, judiciary system, education system and top state institutions.
Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen group.
Since then, tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers, civilians and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock.