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Tuesday 20th March 2018

Turkey Arrests Journalist Over Syria Operation Coverage


7Dnews London

Thu, 10 Oct 2019 10:41 GMT

The head of the Turkish opposition news website Birgun, Hakan Demir, was arrested on Thursday October 10th, his employer said, as part of a crackdown on critics of the military operation launched in Syria on October 9th, AFP reported.

Hakan Demir was detained for "inciting the people to hatred and enmity" over a message on Twitter, the Anadolu state news agency said.

Birgun was heavily criticised online after reporting that civilians were killed in Turkish assaults against Kurdish positions in Syria on Wednesday, which was denied by the government.

Police said they had opened a total of 78 cases against individuals for "propaganda" online against the operation.

Turkey launched "Operation Peace Spring" on Wednesday October 9th against the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, which it considers a "terrorist" offshoot of Kurdish insurgents in its own territory.

Ankara has arrested online critics during previous offensives against Kurdish forces in Syria, accusing them of "terrorist propaganda.”

In August, fifteen Turkish journalists were detained, and access was banned to 700 online news articles, according to a Free Journalists Initiative (ÖGİ) report, the Artı Gerçek news website reported on Monday September 2nd.

The report said that pressure on journalism was on the rise in August, in parallel to an increase in public opposition to the government, adding that 15 journalists were detained while following events such as protests.

In recent years, Turkey has become the largest jailer of journalists in the world, imprisoning scores on terrorism charges in the aftermath of a 2016 coup attempt.

Turkey was ranked 157th among 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released in April by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Middle East