Reactions mount to Turkish PM Bozdağ over his denial of massive twitter arrests

Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ.

Deputy Prime Minister and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesperson Bekir Bozdağ has been criticized on social media for saying “nobody was arrested in Turkey for tweeting.”

“Arrested due to twitter, this is a very big perception operation. Is there one person arrested because of tweeting in Turkey, no,” said Bozdağ during a meeting with Ankara representatives of newspapers and television channels on Monday.

While Bozdağ denied arrests based on tweets, according to an Interior Ministry statement on Augustus 7, 2016, 3,710 people have been the subject of legal proceedings and 1,656 were arrested between March and Augustus 2016 due to social media posts when Bozdağ was Minister of Justice.

Referring to Bozdağ’s statements, Executive Editor of Cumhuriyet daily Oğuz Güven, who was arrested on May 15, 2017 on charges of terrorist propaganda from his Twitter account, said: “Even though there was no crime element and I deleted it after 52 seconds due to a missing word, I was imprisoned for 32 days.”

In addition to many journalists who are jailed due to social media posts, fashion designer Barbaros Şansal was arrested on January 4, 2017 on accusations of creating indignation in public with social media posts.

Journalist Hüsnü Mahalli, pianist Dengin Ceyhan, university student Gizem Yerik and Ali Gül, teacher Fırat Erdem and many others were arrested due to insulting Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Twitter. (

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