Turkey’s pro-Kurdish HDP member arrested over dollar comment on social media

Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) member İdris İlhan was arrested on Thursday on charges of disseminating the propaganda of terrorist organizations and opposing the law on Turkey’s Capital Markets Board (SPK) by sharing comments on the loss in value of the Turkish lira against the US dollar, the Cumhuriyet daily reported.

According to the report, the Siirt Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation after İlhan, a former member from the HDP of Siirt’s general provincial council, on Aug. 13 tweeted: “We are not sinking economically because of the increased value of the dollar, the dollar is increasing due to our sinking economy. The dollar is valued at 7.15 [Turkish lira].”

İlhan was detained on Wednesday and arrested by a court on Thursday.

“My target with that message was to make an economic evaluation on a topic that concerns 80 million people. I did not have any intention to manipulate anything,” İlhan testified while in detention.

Meral Danış Bektaş, the HDP’s Siirt deputy, reacted to the decision to arrest in a tweet: “I will leave it to the lawyers to evaluate this decision.”

The Turkish government has investigated 430 social media accounts and taken legal action against 344 users over the last week (Sept.17-Sept.24) on accusations of disseminating propaganda for alleged “terrorist organizations,” the Turkish Interior Ministry announced on Monday.

“Legal action has been taken against 344 people and 430 social media accounts that propagandize for terrorist organizations, promote these organizations, openly declare that they are affiliated with terrorist organizations, incite people to enmity and hostility, insult state authorities, make attempts against the state’s indivisible integrity and the safety of society or engage in hate speech,” said the statement.

According to a report by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency on July 21, police teams under the command of the cybercrime unit have determined the existence of 126,000 social media accounts related to alleged terrorist organizations in the last two years.

The report said about 50,000 out of 68,000 profiled social media accounts that allegedly posted pro-coup messages in the wake of a coup bid in July 2016 belong to alleged members of the Gülen movement.

According to the report, 17,000 of the social media accounts are allegedly linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), while a thousand of them are said to be connected to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

It was also claimed that 60 percent of social media posts believed to be supportive of “terrorist organizations” have been made by alleged members of the Gülen movement. The Turkish government led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has labeled the pacifist Gülen movement as a “terrorist organization,” calling it “FETÖ.” (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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