Seventeen judges and prosecutors who were recently detained as part of an operation against people using a smart phone application called ByLock were arrested in İstanbul on Tuesday.
As part of a witch-hunt against the Gülen movement, the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) suspended 184 judges and prosecutors for allegedly using ByLock last week. Detention warrants were also issued for these judges and prosecutors on Friday.
Twenty out of 30 judges in İstanbul for whom a detention warrant was issued were referred to court on Tuesday morning. Seventeen of them were arrested while three were released on judicial probation.
Turkish prosecutors claim that ByLock is the top communication tool among members of the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding a coup attempt on July 15. Critics, however, have blasted the government for detaining thousands simply for using a mobile application.
Tens of thousands of civil servants have either been dismissed or arrested for using the application. Critics say the use of a technological application is not a criminal activity nor is it evidence of membership in a terrorist organization.
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 government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement. The movement strongly denies any involvement in the coup attempt.