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Liking pictures of PKK members on social media is free speech, Turkish court says

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A Mardin court in southeastern Turkey has ruled to acquit Mürvet Aslan, who liked Facebook content related to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), on the grounds that liking posts should be included within the scope of freedom of expression, the Mezopotamya news agency reported on Friday.

Aslan was on trial for allegedly “spreading propaganda on behalf of terrorist organizations” after he liked a number of Facebook posts that included pictures of alleged members of the PKK, which is considered by the Turkish government to be a terrorist organization with a separatist agenda.

In its decision, the court said likes on social media alone cannot be construed as tantamount to criminal activity.

“As the defendant has not shared or published these posts to disseminate them to other users, the act of propaganda has not occurred,” the court said.

The court also noted that “freedom of expression is one of the liberties that are most frequently infringed upon in the scope of the fight against terrorism.”

Since the ’80s, the PKK has been waging an insurgency against Turkey’s security forces, most notably in the country’s predominantly Kurdish Southeast.

In addition to Turkey, the group is listed as a terrorist organization by the European Union and the US.

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