Twelve former employees of the Turkish Central Bank who were detained in Ankara last week due to their use of a smart phone application known as ByLock, which Turkish authorities say is the top communication tool among the followers of the faith-based Gülen movement, were arrested on Thursday.
The former central bank employees were arrested as part of an investigation conducted by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock.
Turkey experienced 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 Gülen movement despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.
Over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement since the coup attempt, according to a statement by the labor minister on Jan. 10. As of Feb. 1, 89,775 people were being held without charge, with an additional 43,885 in pre-trial detention due to their alleged links to the movement.