TURKEY

Probe finds FETO members using new secret messaging app instead of ByLock

PROBE FINDS FETO MEMBERS USING NEW SECRET MESSAGING APP INSTEAD OF BYLOCK

An approver told police that FETO members installed a program called Cryptnote on his phone and computer, calling it "more reliable" than ByLock, a suspected means of communication for the organization.

Three people were arrested on Tuesday over the alleged use of a new messaging app linked to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group blamed for a deadly coup attempt nearly one year ago, according to a judicial source.

The Ankara Western Chief Public Prosecutor's Office launched an investigation in March after a former police officer, named Cumali K., who was expelled from his post over FETO links, was contacted again by members of the organization.

According to the source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media, the former police officer confessed that three FETO members he had worked with visited him and asked if he needed any material or moral support.

He said the FETO members installed a program called Cryptnote on his phone and computer, calling it "more reliable" than ByLock, a suspected means of communication for the organization.

Under the direction of prosecutors, Ankara police tracked the three FETO members -- Idris D, Mahmut O. and Mutlu D. -- and found they were allegedly visiting people associated with the group, and then fired the trio and took them into custody.

After questioning at the prosecutors' office, the suspects were arrested on charges of being members of a terrorist organization.

The suspects were allegedly working on restructuring FETO by uploading the encrypted Cryptnote messaging app on the computers and phones of FETO members who were expelled from the civil service.

The investigation also found the suspects were allegedly in contact with the families of arrested FETO members to prevent them from exposing the group.

They also allegedly acted to hinder FETO member confessions and keep up the morale of the non-exposed members.

According to the Turkish government, FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

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