Aug 27 2018

Turkish man charged with terror links for downloading chat app

A Turkish man was been charged with links to the outlawed religious group blamed for carrying out the failed Jul. 2016 coup attempt, with an indictment that cites the presence of a messaging app, “KakaoTalk” on his mobile phone.

The suspect, identified as M.A., has been charged with “membership of an armed terrorist organisation,” referring to the Gülen religious movement, on the basis that he owned books written by the movement’s leader, Fethullah Gülen, had stayed in hotels frequented by its members, had an account at a bank linked to the movement and had visited incriminating websites.

The indictment also refers to his possession of a phone bearing KakaoTalk, a popular messaging app in east Asia used by 93 per cent of South Korean mobile phone users.

This marks the second time Turkish security have identified a messaging app as evidence of membership of the Gülen movement, after the Turkish constitutional court ruled that possession of the ByLock app counted as such after the coup attempt.

It was later discovered that the ByLock software had been downloaded to a great number of these mobile devices through malware created by the app’s designers, likely to make investigation into ByLock users more difficult.

Whereas ByLock was reportedly developed by a Gülenist programmer, KakaoTalk is a well-established chat app created by South Korean developer Kakao with hundreds of millions of users.