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Prosecutor seeks imprisonment for online news website owner over Afrin reports

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Necla Demir, the owner of online newspaper Gazete Karınca, will be tried on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda in stories published by the news outlet on Turkish military operations in the city of Afrin in northern Syria.

An indictment demanding up to 13 years in prison for Demir has been accepted by the Istanbul 33rd High Criminal Court, Gazete Karınca reported on Friday.

The investigation was launched after a complaint to the Prime Ministry Communications Center (BİMER) claiming that the newspaper was spreading terrorist propaganda for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Democratic Union Party (PYD).

A majority of the allegations were based on stories critical of Turkey’s military’s offensive in Afrin starting from January 2018.

In reaction to the indictment, Demir said the stories published in Gazete Karınca were an exercise of freedom of expression.

According to the prosecutor, the stories aim to portray the Turkish military operations in Afrin as an occupation and highlight the torture and massacre of civilians in line with the propaganda of the PKK.

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