Turkey cracks down on Twitter users

June 05, 2013 04:15 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 05:12 am IST - Istanbul

About 25 Twitter users have been arrested in Turkey on charges of inciting demonstrations and spreading propaganda following days of at times violent protests against the government, CNN Turk reported Wednesday.

Nine of those arrested were detained in the city of Izmir. It remained unclear which comments on the microblogging site prompted the detentions.

Turkey has endured protests since Friday. They started as demonstrations against a planned Istanbul building project, but have since turned into a wider opposition movement against the mildly Islamist government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Demonstrators say they oppose Mr Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian leadership style and efforts to introduce more restrictive laws, such as ones regulating alcohol consumption.

Political opponents have decried government forces for using excessive force — including, at times, water cannon and tear gas — in quelling the demonstrators.

The arrested individuals are accused of using Twitter to organise demonstrations and summon people to the protests.

“If that’s a crime, then we all did it,” said Ali Engin, a local representative from the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in Izmir after meeting with police for more information about the arrests. Another opposition member said that she saw nothing especially flagrant in the Twitter postings.

Police are continuing their search for more people accused of organizational activities.

Protests continued Wednesday in Istanbul after overnight violence was reported in several other Turkish cities.

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