A former captain in the Land Forces Command who was found innocent on charges of having links to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) was detained over the weekend at a safe house belonging to the group. The raid on the safe house in the central Anatolian province of Konya netted three suspects, one of whom was identified as Kenan Ş., a captain in the Land Forces Command. The police found five cell phones that had the ByLock encrypted communication program, $8,000 and TL 18,000 (approximately $4,000). The two other suspects were also carrying four fake IDs. Kenan Ş. was captured by security forces the day after the July 15, 2016 coup attempt at the Jet Base in Konya. He was on leave at the time.
He was jailed and tried as a suspected FETÖ member. He told the court that he wasn't a member and that he had gone to the base on July 15, 2016, to get his English practice book and was stuck in the base when it was in lockdown. He was released İn February and found innocent on May 31.
Reports said that Kenan Ş.'s brother Cihan Ş., who was also a captain, was shot dead by the police in front of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Headquarters on July 15, 2016, as he was telling soldiers under his control to shoot everyone who approached.
The ByLock application was first discovered during criminal inquiries into the terrorist group in 2014. The National Intelligence Organization (MİT) uncovered the messaging app apparently programmed - or modified for exclusive use of the group's members - by someone linked to FETÖ. According to recent media reports, police intelligence staff linked to the terrorist group were behind the app. FETÖ-linked staff members working in a powerful intelligence department of the Turkish National Police were the "architects" of the app or rather its modification to serve the purposes of the group.
Investigations show that 95 out of the first 100 people who downloaded and installed the app were personnel in police intelligence and the other five people were employees of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK). TÜBİTAK was the target of mass infiltration by Gülenists in the past, and it is believed that the original developers of the application are linked to this state-run institution. Turkish authorities so far have detected some 102,000 people who downloaded the app and used it for correspondence of the group's activities. Prosecutors launched investigations, and thousands, ranging from shopkeepers to high-ranking generals and bureaucrats, housewives and prominent businesspeople, were detained for exchanging messages via ByLock for acts of terror.
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