Pro-government Yeni Akit newspaper columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak alleged that Bitcoin is a secret communication tool used by followers of the Gulen movement.

His claim came in response to public outrage over Turkish government’s jailing of thousands of people for simply using a messaging app, ByLock.

“Let’s us keep in mind that these FETO supporters have used not only ByLock, but many other systems. They have utilized satellite phones, Raspbery Pi and Deep web as well. They used now-popular Bitcoin, too. Many people are not even aware that Bitcoins are an encrypted, secret communication tool. This way it is possible to transfer information and money,” Dilipak said in his column on Nov 11.

Turkish authorities believe using ByLock is a sign of being a member of the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The mobile phone application ByLock is seen as the top communication tool among members of the group.

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

The government calls the movement FETO, short for the alleged Fethullahist Terrorist Organization while the movement denies terror and coup charges.

“…Thousands of Turkish citizens have been arbitrarily detained for their alleged use of the encrypted communications app ByLock,” US-based think tank Freedom House said, underlining that numerous users have been deemed guilty by association for simply downloading the app, in its report mid-November.