Turkish authorities detain 544 for Gülen network membership charge

Turkish authorities detained 544 people in operations in 62 provinces on charges of “membership of the FETÖ armed terrorist organization” for allegedly using ByLock, an encrypted messaging app, and participating in irregularities in national exams.

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Turkey’s Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya on May 14 announced that 544 suspects were detained in operations organized in 62 provinces against the "Fethullahist Terrorist Organisation (FETÖ).”

Yerlikaya stated that the operation was organized against "individuals who are planned to be placed in different levels of the state by FETÖ.”

The Minister stated that suspects were "directed to take entrance exams for public institutions by the instructions of the organization's supervisors" and that "some of the suspects were ByLock users, the organization's encrypted messaging app.”

Operations targeting the Gülenists, which is the Islamist cult widely believed to have orchestrated the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt, have been continuing ever since then.

The Gülen movement, which has been officially deemed an armed terrorist organization, is an ally-turned-foe of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).