Detention warrants issued for 35 over Afrin messages

Turkish anti riot police officers block People' Democracy Party's (HDP) headquarter as HDP members call a protest against Turkey's "Olive Branch" operation in Syria on January 21, 2018 in Diyarbakir. Turkey on January 20 launched operation "Olive Branch" seeking to oust from the Afrin region of northern Syria the Peoples' Protection Units (YPG) Kurdish militia which Ankara considers a terror group. / AFP PHOTO / ILYAS AKENGIN

Turkish public prosecutor’s offices on Sunday issued detention warrants for about 35 people on accusations of disseminating the propaganda of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in social media messages concerning a Turkish military operation in the Afrin region of Syria, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

According to the report, detention warrants were issued by the Istanbul and Diyarbakır public prosecutor’s offices.

The Turkish Armed Forces backed by armored vehicles, special forces and infantry regiments have advanced five kilometers inside Afrin, which is controlled by the PYD.

Turkey views the PYD as the Syrian extension of the outlawed PKK.

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office  earlier on Sunday announced in a statement that investigations had been launched into individuals who have called on people to take to the streets to protest Turkey’s operations targeting Afrin.

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Sunday launched an investigation into pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies Ayhan Bilgen and Nadir Yıldırım for “incitement of hatred and hostility” through their critical messages on Twitter over Turkish military operation in Afrin.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday warned the HDP not to take to the streets to protest the operation in Afrin: “You are being closely followed. If you try to take to the streets, know that our security forces will be at your neck.”

“If anyone is in the streets upon calls [from the HDP], they will pay dearly for it. This is a national fight, and whoever opposes us will be crushed.” Erdoğan added.

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