The Istanbul chief prosecutor has launched an investigation following publication yesterday of an interview by Hurriyet investigative journalist Ismail Saymaz with David Keynes, alleged developer of the controversial ByLock mobile app. The investigative report and interview offers insights into the development and popularisation of the communication software reportedly used by supporters of the outlawed Gulen movement. The religious network is now at the heart of ongoing crackdowns in Turkey and has been implicated as mastermind of the July 2016 attempted coup.
The New York interview, which establishes the identity of US citizen David Keynes of Turkish origin, traces the apparent story behind the development, popularisation and downfall of the application. Although photographs from the interview seem to identify Keynes’ passport and location, other details of the interview have been cast into doubt – the interview discusses at length a patent owned by Keynes while no matching record can be found in US Patent Office databases over the last 20 years.
Press freedom has declined steadily in Turkey over recent years, with dozens of media establishments shut down or taken over by the state this year alone. Hurriyet, a moderately pro-government daily, was able to effectively adapt its editorial line and remain in print as other titles went out of business.