ANKARA, Turkey (HPD) — Police in Turkey on Tuesday carried out raids in several cities across the country and detained 11 journalists affiliated with pro-Kurdish media outlets for alleged links to Kurdish militiamen, according to authorities and reports.
The arrests come days after Ankara ratified a controversial new media law that imposes prison sentences on those who spread “disinformation” in order to cause “concern, fear and panic in the population”. Critics of the law have said they fear President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government, which already controls most of the media, will use it to further crack down on social media and independent reporting as the country approaches the elections.
The pro-Kurdish news agency Mezopotamya has stated that its editor-in-chief, Diren Yurtsever, and eight other journalists were detained for questioning following simultaneous police raids on their homes in Ankara, Istanbul and five other cities. Two journalists from the JinNews agency were also detained.
Police confirmed the arrests with a statement posted on Twitter saying the suspects were detained for news or content “inciting the public to hatred and enmity.”
The Ankara Police Department statement also accused Mezopotamya of operating as the “Press Council” of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), describing the raids as an “anti-terrorist operation”.