Turkish gov’t detains 9 people in İzmir over social media posts

The Turkish government detained nine people on Friday in the city of İzmir as well as in the Bergama, Seferihisar and Menemen districts over their social media posts.

Turkish police carried out simultaneous raids in İzmir and some of its districts, detaining nine people accused of “spreading Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK] propaganda” on social media. The detainees were reportedly taken to the counterterrorism branch of the İzmir Police Department following a medical check.

The Turkish government investigated 171 social media accounts and taken legal action against 142 users over the last week (Oct. 29-Nov. 5) on accusations of disseminating propaganda for alleged “terrorist organizations,” the Turkish Interior Ministry announced on Monday.

“Legal action has been taken against 142 people and 171 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 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.”

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