The Turkish authorities have detained at least 39 people after investigations against 1,264 social media users carried out this month, state-run Anadolu agency reported on Tuesday.
The detainees are suspected of disseminating propaganda for groups Turkey has designated as terrorist organisations, including the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Islamic State (ISIS) and FETÖ, a name Turkey uses for followers of Muslim preacher Fethullah Gülen.
Investigations by the authorities covered 575 social media accounts.
On Monday evening, the police detained journalist Ayşen Şahin at her home for a tweet posted during street protests in Istanbul on Feb. 2. Şahin was apprehended after she was targeted by pro-government journalist Hilal Kaplan on Twitter and in a “telegram group with 13,000 members”, she said in a tweet. Şahin was released four hours later.
Sunday saw university student Beyza Buldağ arrested for allegedly running a Twitter account to support the student protests at Istanbul’s prestigious Boğaziçi University, with little evidence to support her detention.
Special police and gendarmerie units are working around the clock to combat cyber-terrorism, Anadolu said citing the Turkish Interior Ministry.
According to ministry data, 18,376 people faced court action for their social media posts in 2018, with more than 42,400 accounts investigated.
Turkey’s crackdown on social media is expected to intensify after full implementation of a change to the country’s laws regulating online communications that passed parliament last year.
According to the new law, websites and platforms with more than one million daily visits are required to appoint a representative in Turkey and to keep user data in servers located on Turkish soil.