948 detained over terror propaganda on social media after Istanbul twin bombings

948 detained over terror propaganda on social media after Istanbul twin bombings

948 detained over terror propaganda on social media after Istanbul twin bombings

AP photo

A total of 948 people have been detained after twin bombings in the Beşiktaş district of Istanbul in December 2016 which claimed 46 lives over the past two months for allegedly providing support to terror or disseminating terror propaganda through social media, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Feb. 8.

Security forces conducted operations across the country between Dec. 11, 2016, and Feb. 6, targeting suspects who allegedly supported terror organizations, conducted “terror propaganda” with posts and “insulted statesmen and security forces” through Facebook and Twitter following the attack.

According to figures, a total of 948 people were detained in the operations. Some 248 were later arrested by courts while the other 700 were either released on probation or after testifying to police, the agency said.

Among the detained were also journalists, police officers, soldiers and public officers, it added.

On Dec. 10, 2016, a bomb-laden vehicle ran into riot police following a match between Beşiktaş and Bursaspor outside the Vodafone Arena. Just 45 seconds later, a suicide bomber blew himself up at Maçka Park just across from the stadium. 

A total of 46 people, including 38 police officers, were killed and 164 people were wounded in the attack, which was claimed by the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK), an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Cyber police units had previously carried out similar works as an investigation had been launched into over 300 social media users who posted in support of terror following the Reina nightclub attack in Istanbul that killed 39 people in the early hours of Jan. 1.

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım also called on citizens to be cautious on social media, vowing that there would be “consequences” for social media users who post in support of terror after attacks.

Meanwhile, prosecutors in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa have completed an indictment against six people, three of which are dead, in a probe into the July 20, 2015 Suruç attack, which was conducted by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).The indictment demanded 104 times aggravated life-term sentences for each of the suspects.   

Two suspects of the Suruç attack, Deniz Büyükçelebi and İlhami Bali, are determined to be abroad and one, Yakup Şahin, is arrested in jail for the ongoing trial of the October 2015 Ankara train station attack, the deadliest attack in Turkish history that left 109 people dead. 

In the indictment, Büyükçelebi, whose name appeared as ISIL’s border representative, is accused of assisting Abdurrahman Alagöz, the assailant of the Ankara attack, by hosting him at his home before the attack. 

Bali is accused of issuing the orders of ISIL’s attacks in Turkey. 

The other suspects of the case included Yunus Durmaz and Halil İbrahim Durgun who killed themselves on different dates by detonating themselves during police raids to their cells in southeastern province of Gaziantep. 

In the ongoing case of the Ankara train station attack, the Ankara Heavy Penal Court has begun to hear the testimonies of plaintiffs. In their statements, the relatives of the victims and survivors of the attack claimed that some of the victims died not because of the explosion but because of the pepper gas sprayed by police in the immediate aftermath of the attack. The plaintiffs demanded the public officials responsible for the gas interference should be tried.