A Kayseri court has handed down prison sentences of 6 years 3 months to six shopkeepers and housewives on charges of membership in Turkey’s Gülen group, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup attempt in July 2016.
According to the CNN Turk news portal, the convicts — Fatih Aydın, Soner Özen, Murat Yavuz, Çetin Bayram, Ayşe Nurcu and Hatice Çanakçı – were found guilty for having bank accounts at Gülen-affiliated Bank Asya, which was seized by the government before the coup attempt, and for using a mobile phone application called ByLock.
Turkish authorities claim that using ByLock is a sign of being a Gülenist as they see the mobile phone application as the top communication tool among the group.
Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed over 240 people. The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government along with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite the latter’s denials of involvement.
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.