At least seventeen already-purged teachers, businessmen and housewives were detained over alleged links to the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding the July 15 coup attempt, the TRT Haber news portal reported on Sunday.

Detention warrants were issued for at least 25 individuals early on Feb 16. Hours later, police teams carried out simultaneous operations in Giresun, Trabzon and Sivas provinces and detained 12 of them.

As part of the same investigation, police teams conducted another operation in Giresun on Sunday and detained 5 more civilians, bringing the total number to 17.

The detainees are accuse of having links to the Gülen movement, using of a smart phone application known as ByLock and attending public meetings organized by the movement followers.

Turkish authorities believe ByLock is a communication tool between members of the Gülen movement.

Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since a failed coup attempt last July.

Some of the detainees were reportedly dismissed from profession with recent decrees issued by Turkish government in the aftermath of the coup attempt.