World

ANKARA – Turkish authorities claimed to have arrested 1,656 people in the past six months for allegedly supporting terrorist organisations or insulting officials on social media.


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According to the Interior Ministry, apart from large-scale arrests, authorities are also investigating at least 10,000 others. In a statement, it confirmed legal action had been taken against 3,710 people identified by police.

“Besides those arrested, 1,203 people were released on probation, 767 were released and 84 others are still in detention,” the statement added.

The charges against the arrested individuals include provoking hatred among the people; praising terrorist organisations; disseminating terrorist propaganda; openly declaring allegiance to terrorist groups; insulting statesmen; and targeting the indivisibility of the state or safety of citizens.

Investigations and legal procedures are underway against an additional 10,000 people reported to public prosecutors.

Turkey under the chair of president Reccep Tayyip Erdogan declared a state of emergency after a botched coup in July, detaining thousands of citizens and over alleged ties to outlawed groups and Fatehullah Gulen.

International human rights group and legal experts have repeatedly shown concerns over the crackdown, which some say has begun targeting political opponents and critics. On the other hand, state authorities detailed that the arrests were made in the face of ongoing nationwide terrorism.

Turkey frequently restricts access to social media websites to fend off the spread of graphic images and other material as authorities say they could harm public order or security.