Turkish prosecutors have issued detention warrants for 23 people over their messages on social media about a terrorist attack in Ankara on Sunday that left two police officers injured, Turkish Minute reported, citing the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.
The police shot dead one of the assailants, while the other died in a suicide blast outside the interior ministry.
The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The prosecutor’s office said detention warrants have been issued for 23 people across 14 provinces and that simultaneous operations were being conducted on Friday to detain the suspects.
The Turkish government, which frequently restricts access to social media following such attacks or disasters, is accused by rights groups and political opponents of cracking down on social media to limit criticism. The government says its strict monitoring of social media is necessary to guarantee public safety.
A report released by the US-based Freedom House earlier this week showed that internet freedom in Turkey has steadily declined over the past decade, with the country again ranking among the “not free” countries concerning online freedoms.
Turkey has a score of 30 in a 100-point index, with scores based on a scale of 0 (least free) to 100 (most free).
A new media law, known as the “disinformation law,” passed by the Turkish parliament in October 2022 is also seen as contributing to the declining internet freedoms in the country as reporters and social media users could be jailed for up to three years for spreading “fake news.”