In Turkey, 121 people were arrested for online criticism of the invasion in Syria. In addition, some 500 accounts on social media are being investigated that labeled the invasion as “occupation”. Minister of the Interior Süleyman Soylu reported this during a meeting with supporters of the Turkish army.
“We don’t allow people to say such things about our soldiers, who fight terrorists and risk their lives,” the minister in Ankara said. For the Turkish government, the criticism is a “smear campaign” against its operation “Peace Spring” which started Wednesday. Critics were accused of “terrorist propaganda” and “incitement,” said Anadolu news agency. The action is Turkey’s third raid against the Syrian-Kurdish militia in Syria.
Legal action was taken against 78 people for “black propaganda against Turkey,” said the Interior Minister. Other accusations included damaging the reputation of security forces and spreading lies and fake news on social media. According to the pro-Kurdish democratic party (HDP), more than 90 supporters and members were arrested for condemning the raid, party spokesman Ayse Acar Basaran reported in parliament today. Criminal complaints have been filed against high-ranking party members.
The Turkish media watchdog, RTUK, warned that radio, television and Internet content would be blocked against the military operation which misleads ‘civilians with false information’. Human Rights Watch (HRW) stated that the Turkish offensive “should not be used as a pretext” to attack Kurdish politicians and peaceful activists.