TURKEY MASSIVELY EXPANDS POLICE SURVEILLANCE OVER SOCIAL MEDIA USERS. PROSECUTORS CHARGE CRIMINAL FILES TO THOUSANDS OF SOCIAL MEDIA USERS BECAUSE OF THEIR CRITICAL POSTS ABOUT THE TURKISH GOVERNMENT:
In a preliminary meeting of the Turkish Parliament, CHP MP Barış Yarkadaş called the depth of investigations on social media users as “terrifying” and labeled them “witch-hunt”. According to Yarkadaş, Turkish prosecutors charge criminal files (indictment) to 17000 people and the recently- created “social media unit” of Turkish Police try to identify IDs and addresses of 45000 more social media users to arrest. Turkish police recently created “media pursuit unit” to go after social media user who may have posted critical statements regarding the Turkish government.
Furthermore, Yarkadaş suggested that the Police, for now, not arresting thousands of social media users (already identified ones) because detention centers are overcrowded with political opponents in Istanbul. Till now, approximately 3500 social media users have been taken into the custody and 1500 of them have been arrested, including many well-known journalists, for their critical posts.
Yarkadas reminded the recent terror attacks in Turkey and harshly-criticized the Turkish Police and Turkish legal institutions for failing to perform their actual responsibilities and conducting politically-motivated investigations to innocent people. According to Yarkadas, many criminal accusations that filed by prosecutors are even not defined in the existing criminal laws. He also criticized the application of new regulation ( issued after the coup attempt) to social media users because of their critical posts. According to the regulation, suspects can be detained up to 30 days without charge by police.
Yarkadas also reminded that journalists behind the bars still don’t know what they are accused of. There is no indictment.
There are nearly 200 Turkish journalists are sitting in jails. 120 of them since the coup attempt.