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Police detain İz Gazete editor-in-chief for criticism of Turkey’s Afrin operation

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Ümit Kartal, editor-in-chief of the İzmir-based İz Gazete, has been detained on accusations of disseminating the propaganda of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on social media and in reports concerning a Turkish military operation in the Afrin region of Syria.

According to the T24 news website İzmir police detained Kartal late on Friday evening at his office in İzmir’s Çiğli district due to his tweets and media reports criticizing the Turkish government for the recent military operations in Syria.

Since last weekend, Turkish public prosecutor’s offices have issued detention warrants for tens of people across Turkey for criticizing the military operation.

The Turkish military and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch in Afrin against the PYD, which Turkey sees as the Syrian extension of the outlawed PKK.

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office 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 prosecutor’s office also initiated 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 the Turkish military operation.

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. (Turkey Purge)

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