102,000 suspects accused of Gülen links are ByLock users, Turkish communication authority says

102,000 suspects accused of Gülen links are ByLock users, Turkish communication authority says


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Turkey’s Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) has said that it analyzed various messages of 102,000 suspects accused of being members of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) and determined that they were sent through ByLock, the group’s encrypted messaging application, Sabah daily reported on June 26.

“A list of 102,000 people has been sent to us from courts. We have prepared reports and met the demands of the courts one by one, whichever court has the investigation files of these people on the list,” Ömer Fatih Sayan, the head of BTK, told the daily. 

“By exposing the records of which days, where and how many messages the names on the list, which the courts have sent us, exchanged correspondences, we have confirmed that they have used ByLock. Those on the ByLock list therefore have no excuse left. By getting detailed records of their correspondences, we have once again determined that they have used ByLock,” Sayan said. 

He also stated that as part of an agreement signed with the Justice Ministry, they were meeting FETÖ-related demands of the judiciary institutions through the UYAP informatics system (National Judiciary Informatics System), which provided a much faster exchange of information. 

Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MİT) previously prepared a list of a total of 102,000 alleged users of the ByLock smartphone app and sent it to the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, which passed it onto local courts, for an investigation. This time the list was sent to BTK, which conducted its own analysis to determine if the suspected individuals had used ByLock.

The list includes people from police forces, military, judiciary system, education system and top state institutions. 

A report penned by a parliamentary commission tasked with probing the July 2016 coup attempt concluded in May 26 that FETÖ was absolutely behind the failed coup attempt of July 2016 while also noting that there was a general intelligence failure in preventing the deadly attempt.

The report addressed the growth of FETÖ since the mid-1960s and detailed its national and international structure under the leadership of Fethullah Gülen, the U.S. based Islamic preacher who is believed to have led the coup attempt. The study alleged that Gülen was linked to foreign secret services, without elaborating, although it did note that former CIA personnel supported Gülen in acquiring a U.S. green card.