Turkish prosecutor accuses 3 pro-Kurdish HDP deputies of sharing alleged terror propaganda on social media

Adem Geveri (L) Bedia Özgökçe Ertan and Lezgin Botan (R).

A Turkish prosecutor issued summaries of proceedings on Wednesday for three pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies for social media messages criticizing a Turkish military campaign in the Afrin province of northwestern Syria.

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued summaries of proceedings for HDP deputies Adem Geveri, Bedia Özgökçe Ertan and Lezgin Botan for social media posts that criticized the military operation in Afrin. The prosecutor claimed the three deputies “disseminated terrorist propaganda” via social media. The statement said the summaries were filed after the lawmakers were found to have shared written and visual terrorist propaganda on social media against the ongoing offensive in Afrin.

The prosecutor’s request was submitted to the Justice Ministry, which will send the file to the the office of the parliament speaker.

The Turkish government detained 169 people last week over social media posts criticizing the Turkish military campaign in Afrin. According to a statement released by the Interior Ministry, at least 690 social media accounts were investigated last week, and legal action was taken against 169 people. The statement included “hate speech” as among the reasons for the prosecutions.

The Interior Ministry stated on February 26 that 845 people who criticized the Afrin operation on social media and attended demonstrations were detained. The detentions came after autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in an address lambasted people who have criticized the Afrin operation. The police detained hundreds of people following Erdoğan’s speech.

On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to capture Afrin province in northwestern Syria. According to the General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as “to protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.”

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