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Turkey detains over 400 for ‘misleading’ social media posts

April 28, 2020 at 2:16 pm

Icons for the Facebook and Twitter applications are displayed on a smart phone on 29 August 2018 [Volkan Furuncu/Anadolu Agency]

Turkey has detained more than 400 people in the past 42 days for allegedly sharing false and provocative social media posts concerning the coronavirus outbreak, according to the Associated Press.

Yesterday, the country’s Interior Ministry said officials have inspected more than 6,000 social media accounts and the 402 suspects were among a total of 855 account-holders sought by authorities for sharing posts deemed provocative.

A ministry official said the social media users were detained for allegedly attempting to “cause panic” over the coronavirus pandemic with posts that, among other things, accuse the government of not doing enough to curb the outbreak or of lying about the number of deaths or infections.

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Last weekend, Turkey sent an air ambulance to Sweden and repatriated a citizen who tested positive for the coronavirus but allegedly failed to receive any treatment there.

Emrullah Gulusken, 47, and his family were evacuated from their home in Malmo on Sunday after his daughter, Leyla, pleaded for help on social media. She said her father was sent back home despite his worsening condition, Anadolu reported.

According to Foreign Ministry figures, Turkey has repatriated around 40,000 nationals from 75 countries since the onset of the outbreak in March.

The country has reported a total of 2,805 deaths and 110,130 confirmed infections, according to Johns Hopkins University’s report.