24 people detained for 'PYD, PKK promotion' on social media in Turkey
Some 24 suspects were detained across Turkey last week for allegedly conducting propaganda for the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on social media, Interior Ministry said on Jan. 22.
On Jan. 21, investigations were launched by the chief public prosecutor’s offices in Ankara, Van, Diyarbakır, Mardin, Muş and Istanbul against some social media users who voiced support for the PYD and the PKK amid Turkey’s ongoing operation in the Syrian city of Afrin.
As part of the investigation by the Diyarbakır’s Chief Public Prosecutors Office, eight people were detained in the southeastern province when anti-terrorism units carried out simultaneous operations across the province, an official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, said.
The detentions came after the provincial chief public prosecutor’s office issued detention warrants for 17 people, accusing them of making propaganda for the organizations via social media as well as “provoking Kurdish-origin people to take to the streets by sharing provocative and delusive photographs” about the ongoing Operation Olive Branch in Syria’s Afrin.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched the Operation Olive Branch to remove the Syrian Kurdish militia People’s Protection Units (YPG), a group Ankara has deemed a “terror group” for its links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), from the northwestern Afrin region of Syria.
Another suspect was detained in Mardin allegedly for promoting the PKK and sharing wrong information about the operation.
The detention came as part of an investigation launched by the Mardin’s Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Separately, Istanbul’s Anatolia Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office officially launched an investigation into 57 suspects who were accused of making terrorist propaganda against the operation on social media.
The suspects were accused of “insulting public officials,” “inciting hatred and enmity among people,” “insulting the president,” “humiliating Turkish people, government and the military organization overtly,” and “propagating terrorist organization” for their posts on Twitter.
The Turkish General Staff says the Afrin operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkish borders and the region as well as to protect the Syrian people “from the oppression and cruelty of militants.”
It said the operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkeys’ rights based on international law, U.N. Security Council decisions, self-defense rights under the U.N. charter and respect to Syria’s territorial integrity.
The military also said “utmost importance” was being given to not harm any civilian.