Turkey detains four over ‘provocative’ social media posts about earthquake

Turkish police on Tuesday said they had detained four people over “provocative” social media posts following a massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake in southern Turkey, Agence France-Presse reported.

The quake struck the region early on Monday, killing more than 5,000 people in Turkey and Syria, injuring thousands and leaving many more without shelter in the bitter cold.

The four individuals were detained after officers found accounts that shared “provocative posts aiming to create fear and panic,” the police said.

It added that a wider investigation into social media accounts was ongoing but offered no information on the content of the posts.

Turkish social media have been filled with posts by people who complain about a lack of search and rescue efforts in their area, particularly in Hatay.

The police appeared to address such claims on Tuesday.

“The address and location information of citizens who seek help is immediately ascertained and coordination is established,” they said.

Turkish authorities have in the last few years cracked down on social media posts, especially those considered to support “terror,” but this has led to accusations that freedom of expression has been curtailed.

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