Turkey says Gulen group used puzzle game to mask communications
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Turkish authorities believe members of the movement it blames for 2016’s failed coup used a mobile phone puzzle game to mask communications on an encryption app, state media reported on Friday.
Officials have uncovered evidence, state news agency Anadolu said, that supporters of the US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen downloaded the app “2048 Fun and Relaxing Puzzle Game” to use as a smokescreen for an encrypted messaging service.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly accused Gulen of being behind the coup attempt — a charge the cleric denies.
The agency did not give further details on how the puzzle app was used but said the discovery was made during an investigation into the Gulen movement’s structure in the Turkish navy.
Digital material seized by the authorities also showed that alleged Gulenists were using apps similar to the encryption messaging app known as ByLock.
The Turkish government has said that Bylock was used by Gulen’s followers.
Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in the US, says his movement promotes a peaceful form of Islam but tens of thousands of his followers have been arrested and put on trial accused of being part of what Ankara calls the “Fethullah Terrorist Organisation”.
Under the state of emergency imposed after the coup bid, more than 140,000 public workers were sacked or suspended including teachers, judges and police officers over alleged links to Gulen.
Last year, the Ankara chief prosecutor said nearly 11,500 people unknowingly downloaded the ByLock app.
Following the announcement, more than 1,800 civil servants sacked after being accused of downloading Bylock were reinstated to their roles. (AFP) Photo by miss_hg