Arrests in Turkey over earthquake-related social media posts

Arrests in Turkey
  • Arrests in Turkey over earthquake-related social media posts

Turkish Police detained 37 social media users for their posts following Monday’s massive double earthquake that wrought devastation in large areas of the country and in neighbouring Syria.

The detainees had shared posts “with the aim of spreading fear and panic among the population,’’ the police said in a tweet on Friday.

It was unclear which posts were meant.

Ten of those taken into custody were formally arrested.

Several websites were also closed down because, for example, operators wanted to exploit the goodwill of citizens and swindle donors, the police added.

Four people are killed in an earthquake in Indonesia when a floating restaurant collapses into the sea.

Many traditional media outlets in Turkey are under government control, rendering social media an important resource for alternative information, even though posts are often difficult to verify.

On Wednesday, Twitter was temporarily blocked in Turkey, drawing opposition claims that the government was trying to suppress criticism of its crisis management after the earthquakes.

In the southern province of Hatay, one of the hardest hit people were left to fend for themselves for a long time.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan conceded that there had been problems with the rescue operation, but accused those who criticised the late arrival of the help of spreading lies.

As of Friday early afternoon, there were 18,991 confirmed deaths in Turkey from the successive quakes, Erdoğan said.

Another 3,384 people were known to have died in neighbouring Syria, with more than 75,000 injured across the region. (dpa/NAN)

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