Some 51 suspects were detained across Turkey on Jan. 21 for allegedly promoting the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on social media, according to a security official.
On Jan. 21, investigations were launched by the chief public prosecutor’s offices in the provinces of Ankara, Van, Diyarbakır, Mardin, Muş and Istanbul against some social media users who allegedly voiced support for the PYD and the PKK.
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, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.
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 Turkey’s ongoing Operation Olive Branch in Syria’s Afrin, which is controlled by the PYD.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to remove the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the PYD’s militia, from the northwestern Syrian city of Afrin.
Thirty-six more people were detained in the Ankara, Kütahya, Mardin, Van, Muş, Muğla and Kars provinces on Jan. 22.
Six people were also detained in the western province of Bursa for allegedly promoting propaganda for the PKK and the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK).
Propaganda activities on social media
Meanwhile, the public prosecutors’ offices in Ankara and Istanbul have issued arrest warrants for 12 and 18 people, respectively, over similar alleged propaganda activities on social media.
Another suspect was detained in the southeastern province of Mardin for allegedly promoting the PKK and sharing erroneous information about the Afrin operation.
The detention came as part of the 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 people on accusations they were spreading 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.