Turkey issued detention warrants on Wednesday for 34 former staff of state-owned broadcaster Turkish Radio and Television Corporation, TRT, state media said.
The arrest warrants were issued by the Ankara Public Prosecutor’s office as part of an investigation targeting supporters of Fethullah Gulen, a United States-based cleric accused by the Turkish government of orchestrating last July’s failed coup.
All 34 suspects are believed to have used ByLock, an encrypted messaging app that the government says was used by Gulen’s followers, according to the Anadolu news agency.
In another operation on Monday, Turkish authorities ordered the arrest of 72 university staff and 105 people working in information technology, including former staff from Turkey’s scientific research council and a telecommunications authority.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday said the year-old state of emergency could only be lifted once the fight against terrorism was finished.
“There can be no question of lifting emergency rule with all this happening,” Erdogan said in a speech to investors in Ankara. “We will lift the emergency rule only when we no longer need to fight against terrorism. Lifting the emergency rule can be possible in the not-too-distant future.”
The Turkish government declared a state of emergency and launched a massive crackdown on on Gulen’s supporters in the aftermath of the coup attempt, which killed more than 240 people.
Since then, about 50,000 people have been jailed pending trial and some 150,000 state workers, including teachers, judges and soldiers, have been suspended.
Under the emergency rule, the president and cabinet can bypass parliament in passing new laws and to limit or suspend rights and freedoms as they deem necessary. In a referendum in April, Turks narrowly voted in favour of changing the constitution to grant Erdogan sweeping new powers.
Critics say Erdogan is using the measures to quash dissent and drift toward authoritarianism, while the government says they are necessary to address the security threats that Turkey faces.