Turkey remands 15 for promoting PYD/PKK on social media

Suspects charged with spreading propaganda against ongoing Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin

Turkey remands 15 for promoting PYD/PKK on social media

By Durmus Genc

MUGLA, Turkey

Fifteen suspects were remanded in custody in Turkey for promoting the PYD/PKK terrorist group’s propaganda on social media against Turkey’s ongoing military operation in northwestern Syria, judicial sources said on Monday.

In the western Mugla province, seven suspects were arrested as a part of a prosecutors' investigation of PYD/PKK supporters, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

Six of the suspects were referred to a court in Mugla, where five of them were remanded in custody for making terrorist group propaganda and inciting public hatred and enmity.

One of them was released under judicial control.

Also, prosecutors in the capital Ankara issued an arrest warrant for Osman Baydemir, a lawmaker of the opposition Peoples' Democratic Party, in southeastern Sanliurfa.

Baydemir is accused of inciting public hatred and enmity, insulting Turkish society, the government, state institutions and organs, and inciting conflict against the government, according to prosecutors.

Separately, in the southeastern province of Gaziantep, 10 suspects were arrested, including HDP provincial head Atiye Okay, for allegedly spreading terror propaganda on social media.

Eight of the suspects were remanded in custody, while the two others were released under judicial control, a court in Gaziantep said. 

In the central Anatolian province of Nigde, three suspects, including the HDP’s Nigde provincial head Goksel Riza Ozkan, were arrested for spreading terror propaganda on social media. 

While Ozkan was remanded in custody, the other suspects were released. 

In the northwestern Sakarya province, one suspect was remanded in custody over spreading terror propaganda on social media. 

On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorist groups from the northwestern Afrin region.

The Turkish General Staff has said the Afrin operation is aimed at establishing security and stability along Turkish borders and the region as well as protecting Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.

It said the operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law.

The military also said "utmost care and sensitivity" is being put on avoiding harm to civilians.

Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012 when the Bashar Assad regime left the city to the terror group without a fight. 

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