Turkey has issued a number of arrest warrants seeking detention of at least 243 members of the military. The arrests of the military members are being sought for a probe relating to the failed coup attempt on 15 July 2016, state-run news agency Anadolu reported on Wednesday (18 January).

According to the report, all the 243 suspects are accused of using Bylock – an encrypted smartphone messaging app – that the government believes was used by the network of Fethullah Gulen, the US-based cleric indicted by Ankara of planning the attempted coup.

This came after Turkey's parliament voted to advance a bill which would create an executive presidency and abolish an independent judiciary in the country.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has gradually strengthened his control of Turkey's branches of government since he joined office in 2014.

The failed July coup has resulted in the imposition of emergency in the country.

Under the state of emergency, the government is allowed to rule by decree and fire public employees with little option. While, on the other hand, it can also enable security officials to arrest terror suspects and "state enemies" for up to 30 days without charges.

Since then, over 35,000 people have been arrested, 82,000 investigated and thousands more detained, for suspected links to the movement. Some 120,000 people have been suspended or dismissed too, although thousands of them have since been restored to their posts.

President Tayyip Erdogan
Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS