The Turkish Government’s “domestic security package”, to be submitted to Parliament in coming days, will include new measures restricting social media — including special prison sentences for Internet users who call for protests — according to “Government sources”.
The bill is expected to add “calls to action” on social media as a crime to the Turkish Penal Law for the first time. Not only “calls for violence, terror, or hate speech” but also calls to “close businesses in protest” will carry heavy sentences.
Those involved in violent protests will face longer prison terms. If demonstrating with their faces covered, they will be viewed as “potential criminals”.
The new legislation is also expected to reintroduce a controversial law giving the Telecommunications Directorate (TİB) the authority to close websites within four hours on the basis of national security, protecting public order, or preventing crime.
The law was overturned by the Constitutional Court on October 2.
The Government faced mass protests in spring and summer 2013, sparked by its plans to redevelop Gezi Park in Istanbul. There have been continuing demonstations over corruption allegations, and this month at least 38 people killed amid widespread demonstrations claiming Ankara was not acting to save the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane from the Islamic State.
(Featured Photo: Gezi Park protest, June 2013)
Kurdish PKK Members Suspected of Kidnapping Workers in Diyarbakir Province
Ten Turkish employees of a local electric company were reportedly kidnapped in Silvan in Diyarbakir Province in southeastern Turkey.
The workers, investigating illegal transmissions on the electricity grid, were stopped by a group of armed men. They were released several hours later outside Silvan.
Turkish security forces say the abductors may belong to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). One suspect has been apprehended by Turkish security forces.
Politician from Kurdish Islamist Party Shot Dead in Eastern Turkey
A politician from the Kurdish Islamist Party Huda-Par (Free Cause) was shot dead in Bingol in eastern Turkey on Wednesday.
Huda-Par’s armed wing has clashed with members of the Kurdistan Worker Party (PKK) on several occasions this month, amid demonstrations over the Islamic State’s attack on the Syrian Kurdish center of Kobane.
The local Huda-Par spokesperson claimed that the PKK was behind the assassination.