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Published On: Sat, Feb 17th, 2018

117 detained in Turkey over social media activities linked to invasion of Afrin

nsnbc : Turkish police in Adana, Sirnak, Mersin, Izmir, Canakkale, Kars and Samsum provinces, this week, launched a crackdown in response to social media posts on Turkey’s offensive in Syria’s Afrin and charges of insulting the president. Turkey continues attracting international condemnation over its apparently systematic violations of fundamental human rights.

Turkey, arrests, Feb 2018, archivesA total of 117 including administrator of the opposition People’s Democratic party (HDP) were detained in these latest operations. The Turkish / English language Bianet news site reports the tally in each province as follows: 11 people in Kars, 7 in Samsun, 24 in İzmir city center and Torbalı, Urla, Tire and Seferihisar districts, 8 in Çanakkale city center and Gökçeada, 15 in Mersin city center and Tarsus district, and 6 in Adana’s Ceyhan district. 46 people were reportedly taken into custody in operations in Şırnak’s city center and Cizre, Silopi, İdil, Uludere and Beytüşşebap districts.

Turkey’s Interior Ministry had announced on February 12 the detention of 474 people who made social media posts about Turkey’s so-called “Operation Olive Branch” in northern Syria’s predominantly Kurdish Afrin as well as 192 people who attended protests against the offensive. At least 39 people had been arrested since the beginning of the offensive on January 20. With the arrests of the night before, the tally has risen to 45.

The crackdown on social media and free speech constitute a continuum of human rights violations in Turkey. Especially with regards to arrests or harassment for “insulting the president” it is worth reiterating that the United Nations Human Rights Committee is clear and unambiguous with regard to these problems. Speech that is considered insulting, even speech that insults those in position of power, should never be the basis of a criminal prosecution.

F/AK – nsnbc 17.02.2018

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