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Turkey detains 15 for spreading ‘terrorist’ propaganda at 2022 Newroz celebration

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The police in eight provinces have detained at least 15 people on accusations of disseminating terrorist propaganda at a Newroz celebration in 2022, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported, citing the Haberdar news website.

Ankara prosecutors in charge of the investigation have issued detention warrants for 30 people, the report said.

A spring festival culturally significant for Turkey’s Kurdish minority, Newroz celebrations frequently become the target of criminal investigations for speeches that are made and banners that are displayed during the festivities.

In some cases, individuals were even detained over clothing featuring yellow, red and green, colors of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community.

Turkey’s counterterrorism laws are often criticized by rights groups and international observers for being overly broad, allowing authorities to interpret social affiliation as terrorist links and speech as terrorist propaganda.

Kurdish politicians and activists commonly face accusations of membership in or spreading propaganda on behalf of the PKK over their speeches, online commentary or attendance at events.

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