Turkey’s top court rules messaging app as evidence for terror links

Turkey’s Constitutional Court (AYM) ruled that use of an encrypted messaging app known as Bylock is sufficient evidence of membership in an organisation accused of orchestrating the July 2016 coup attempt, Hürriyet newspaper reported on Saturday.

The June 4 decision came after F. Kara, charged with of being a member of the outlawed Gülen movement – dubbed “FETÖ” by Ankara – alleged that the transfer of his Bylock data from the Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MİT) to the judicial authorities as evidence was unlawful, and filed an appeal to the AYM on April 20.

AYM said there was "no illegality in passing data relating to the ByLock application, which was detected during intelligence work on a terrorist organisation aiming to abolish the constitutional order.”

Turkish authorities believed the messaging app was used almost exclusively by the Gülen movement. In the crackdown that followed the 2016 coup, many people were detained after they were found with ByLock on their phones. More than 11,000 people launched compensation claims against the government, saying they had been unlawfully detained.

Kara was sentenced to over seven years in prison.