Turkish gov’t launches investigations into 242 social media users in a week

The Turkish government has launched legal proceedings against 242 people after examining 454 social media accounts through the cybercrime division of the police department during the week of March 26-April 2, 2018, according to a written statement released by the Turkish Interior Ministry on Monday.

The Interior Ministry stated that every week that the cybercrime division has launched legal proceedings against hundreds of people over their alleged promotion of “terrorist organisations” on social media. In a statement dated February 26, the ministry had also announced that 845 people who criticized the Afrin operation on social media had been detained.

Meanwhile, an arrest warrant was issued for prominent journalist living in exile Hayko Bağdat for allegedly insulting autocratic Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Turkish media reported on March 30 that a Turkish court issued the warrant since Bağdat failed to show up for his trial over a column he wrote back in 2015.

Bağdat claimed in his column that Erdoğan targeted journalists with his words as “traitors” and the “collaborators of foreigners.” Bağdat currently lives in self-exile as hundreds of his colleagues have recently been jailed in Turkey. “Due to some assassination rumors, I have been living under heavy protection in Germany,” Bağdat told the media.

Insulting the president is a crime in Turkey, according to Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK). Whoever insults the president can face up to four years in prison, a sentence that can be increased if the crime is committed through the mass media.

A total of 1,080 people were convicted of insulting Erdoğan in 2016, according to data from Turkey’s Justice Ministry. Data also showed that 4,936 cases were launched against people on charges of insult in 2016. (SCF with turkeypurge.com)

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