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4 Turkish social media personalities briefly detained for allegedly promoting drug use

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Four social media personalities on Monday were detained by Turkish police on accusations of promoting drug use in their works, the T24 news website reported, and later released pending trial.

Blogger and former Hürriyet daily columnist Pınar Karagöz (also known as Pucca), YouTube video blogger Ali Muhsin Atam and rap artists Şamil Kürşad Oymak (aka Şam) and Burak Aydoğduoğlu (aka Burry Soprana), who distribute their songs on YouTube, were detained in İstanbul as the police were searching for suspects on similar accusations in four other cities.

In June, Karagöz’s father’s house was raided by Turkish police over one of her social media posts as part of a counterterrorism operation, but she was not detained at the time.

In her post, she wrote, “I am a servant of Batı,” referring to her son Batı (which means “West” in English); however the official complaint to the police said that particular tweet was “evidence” of her working as a spy for Western countries.

In May a famous Turkish rapper Ömer Sercan İpekçioğlu, known as Ezhel, was arrested on accusations of promoting drug use in his songs, which were mostly written about poverty and ghetto life in Ankara. For many observers, Ezhel’s arrest was also political since he has been a fierce critic of the current Turkish government.

He was released pending trial in June.

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