Fifteen academics who were claimed to be using ByLock, a smart phone messaging application, were detained on Saturday as part of a witch-hunt targeting the Gülen movement.
Detention warrants issued for 23 faculty members from Turkey’s Ege University. While 15 of them have been so far detained during operations in İzmir, Manisa and Ankara provinces, the remaining eight are still wanted.
Turkish prosecutors claim that ByLock is the top communication tool among members of the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding a July 15 coup attempt. Critics, however, have blasted the government for detaining thousands simply for using a mobile application.
More than 5,070 academics have been dismissed by the government as part of a witch-hunt targeting the Gülen movement by means of a recent decree issued under the state of emergency declared on July. 20.
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 (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the movement, inspired by US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.
In the midst of post-coup crackdown, more than 100,000 people have either been sacked or suspended from state positions while 43,000 have been detained and 24,000 arrested so far.