Fatma Saadet Yılmazer and Rabia Fitnat Yılmazer, daughters of jailed former police intelligence chief Ali Fuat Yılmazer, were arrested by an İstanbul court on Monday for using ByLock, a smartphone application that is considered by Turkish authorities to be a communication tool among followers of the Gülen movement, which is accused by the government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
The İstanbul 2nd Penal Court of Peace ruled on Monday for the arrest of Yılmazer’s daughters — Fatma, a lawyer, and Rabia, a law student, who were detained by police on March 16.
According to reports in the pro-government Sabah daily following their detention, the Yılmazer sisters were accused of using ByLock and also depositing money in the Gülen-affiliated Bank Asya to help it survive in the wake of a government operation to sink the bank. Bank Asya was closed down by the government in the aftermath of the coup attempt due to its links to the Gülen movement.
Ali Fuat Yılmazer was jailed following corruption probes in late 2013 implicating then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government and is accused of having committed a range of crimes, from illegal wiretapping to involvement in the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in 2007. He is being held in Silivri Prison, and his daughter Fatma was serving as his lawyer.
Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the failed coup attempt.
Yılmazer, who played a critical role in police intelligence units during the first two terms in office of then-Prime Minister Erdoğan, has earlier said that it was Erdoğan himself who ordered investigations into two judicial cases known as Balyoz and Ergenekon, mainly against military officers, which are now called plots by the government.