Turkish state will look into social media accounts to spot ‘PKK supporters’

Turkish state will look into social media accounts to spot ‘PKK supporters’

Turkish state will look into social media accounts to spot ‘PKK supporters’

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Public workers with suspected links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) will be dismissed, Labor and Social Policies Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu has announced. 

Statements they share on Twitter will also be evaluated as a criterion in order to determine if they are linked to the outlawed group, he said. 

“We will be attempting to conclude our efforts during the next week,” Müezzinoğlu told journalists, adding that the ministry had data on the suspected personnel. 

“We are evaluating the criteria. We have information, such as memberships, social media accounts and conversations that were determined. We are working on the ones who support it, but it’s not in its final form. A person is in public service, but when you look at his Twitter account, you see that he supports the PKK’s struggle,” he said. 

Thousands of public employees were dismissed and suspended over their suspected links to the Gülen movement after the failed July 15 coup, believed to have been masterminded by the followers of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.

A total of 785 people have been dismissed from the Labor and Social Policies Ministry while 319 are being investigated, Müezzinoğlu said, adding that a total of 383 people had returned to their jobs.

The minister also commented on comments by the Education and Science Workers’ Union (Eğitim-Sen) on teachers who were suspended over their suspected links to the PKK, saying the union’s reactions were “inappropriate.” 

“I don’t find it appropriate for the unions to boil over with rage. [The teachers are] channeling the state’s opportunities to the PKK. If any of our unions accept this as normal, then we don’t find the stance of that union correct,” he added. 

Müezzinoğlu also commented on statements from a Sakarya deputy from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) regarding infiltrations into the party.

“It would be naïve to say FETÖ [the Gülen movement] didn’t infiltrate into the AKP,” Sakarya lawmaker Ayhan Sefer Üstün said, prompting a rejection from Müezzinoğlu. 

“FETÖ didn’t seek a place for itself in the areas where heavy works, such as party efforts, take place. It doesn’t send its resources to these places,” Müezzinoğlu told journalists.