Politician jailed after bus passenger reports WhatsApp messages to Turkish police

A female politician on a bus in İstanbul was first detained by Turkish police and then jailed by a court after another rider saw and secretly read her messages on the WhatsApp mobile phone messaging application and reported her to the police, according to a report by online news outlet Gazete Duvar on Monday.

The incident took place on Sunday on a bus travelling to Sabiha Gökçen Airport in İstanbul. Hatice Deniz Aktaş, the executive board member of the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP), was reportedly sending messages to a WhatsApp group named Devrim-Der, which connotes a left-wing and pro-revolutionary group, and had a photo of Abdullah Öcalan on his phone. Öcalan is the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the US.

The informer reportedly called the police, and the bus was subsequently stopped by a police team in the Pendik district that detained Aktaş after searching her belongings. Police officers who searched Aktaş’s bags could not find any items relating to a crime; yet her phone was seized based on an order from a prosecutor’s office.

Aktaş was arrested by a court later on Sunday on charges of membership in a terror organization.

In a similar development in January, an Ankara woman identified only as M.A. was detained after being reported to police for allegedly insulting Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during a conversation with a friend on the bus.

On many occasions, Turkey’s president has called on regular citizens to report his or his government’s critics to police on suspicion of criminal activity. (turkishminute.com)

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