Ankara police detained 11 out of 15 suspects wanted in connection with an investigation into the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) on Wednesday. The Chief Prosecutor’s Office in the Turkish capital issued arrest warrants for the suspects on charges of membership in a terrorist group and financing terrorism.
Seven of the suspects were users of the Bylock app, while one suspect was a teacher who was suspended earlier on suspicion of affiliation with the group. ByLock was discovered during criminal inquiries into the terrorist group whose criminal activities have been under the spotlight since two coup attempts in 2013. The National Intelligence Organization (MİT) uncovered the messaging app, apparently programmed or modified for exclusive use by the group's members, by an insider linked to FETÖ.
According to recent media reports, infiltrators from among police intelligence staff were behind the making of the app. FETÖ-linked staff working in the upper echelons of Turkish National Police intelligence were the "architects" of the app – or at least its modification to serve the purposes of the group. A group of intelligence officers has been accused of controlling the private app used to deliver FETÖ leader Fetullah Gülen's messages to his followers, as well as to instruct the group's members on how to carry out plots against people they saw as enemies.
The terrorist group had moved to seize power in multiple coup attempts over the past number of years until the government moved to curb its widespread clout in Turkey. The group first tried to overthrow the government with a graft probe seeking to imprison those close to the government on false charges. When this attempt by FETÖ infiltrators in law enforcement and judiciary failed, they tried militarily overthrow the government on July 15, 2016. Two hundred fifty-one people were killed and many more were injured when FETÖ’s military infiltrators moved to seize power for a final time.