Özlem Yüzgeç, the wife of one of the prosecutors who conducted a corruption probe that became public in late 2013 and implicated senior members of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, was arrested in Kahramanmaraş province over use of a smart phone application known as ByLock.
Yüzgeç is the wife of Mehmet Yüzgeç, one of the prosecutors who conducted what is known as the Dec.17-25 corruption probe in 2013, which implicated several members of then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s family, his inner circle and four former ministers.
Özlem Yüzgeç is accused of using ByLock, considered by Turkish authorities to be the top communication tool among followers of the Gülen movement, which is accused by the government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15,2016.
Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the failed coup attempt.
In August 2015, detention warrants were issued for Zekeriya Öz, Celal Kara and Mehmet Yüzgeç, all former prosecutors who took part in the corruption investigations.
The prosecutors face charges of “forming an illegal organization,” “attempting to topple or incapacitate the government through the use of force or coercion” and “preventing the government from performing its duties partially or completely.”
In May 2015, the second chamber of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) voted to disbar Öz, Kara, Yüzgeç and prosecutor Muammer Akkaş, as well as a judge, Süleyman Karaçöl. The board’s members were quick to deny that any political influence had affected their decision.
The whereabouts of Yüzgeç is unknown, while prosecutors Öz and Kara are known to have fled abroad.