Turkey arrests 3 in raids over Erdogan Twitter insults

Turkey blocked Twitter and YouTube in March 2014 after they were used to spread a torrent of audio recordings implicating President Erdogan in an alleged corruption scandal (AFP Photo/Ozan Kose)
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Istanbul (AFP) - Turkish police on Friday detained three people accused of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other top officials on Twitter, after raiding their homes.

The raids were the latest in a string of actions against critics of Erdogan on Twitter, as activists express growing alarm over the limits on freedom of expression in Turkey.

The three people, two of them women and identified as Veli H.K., Serpil I. and Serap K., were detained at their homes and are expected to face court hearings in the coming days, the official Anatolia news agency reported.

According to media reports, two were arrested in Istanbul and one in the resort of Fethiye in the Mugla province on the Mediterranean.

In a separate incident, police in the central Anatolian ciity of Kayseri also arrested a Turkish student who had been convicted of calling Erdogan a "dictator" during the protests in the summer of 2013 against his rule, the Hurriyet daily reported.

Aykulatap Avsar, who until now had been at large, was sent to a prison in Kayseri to begin serving a one year and two months jail sentence.

Erdogan had in a speech earlier lashed out at the protesters involved in the 2013 demonstrations, which began as rallies over the planned development of Gezi Park in central Istanbul.

He said in a speech in Ankara that the "youth of this country were not the vandals you saw in Gezi" nor the "provocateurs in skirts who set the streets on fire".

His comments appeared to reaffirm his distaste of a women's rights march in Istanbul earlier this year where men wore skirts.

Students, journalists and even a former Miss Turkey beauty queen are currently facing legal proceedings for insulting Erdogan on social media.

In a case that attracted wide attention, teenage schoolboy Mehmet Emin Altunses went on trial on March 6 on charges of insulting the president in a speech in the conservative Anatolian city of Konya.

Erdogan, who ruled Turkey from 2003-2014 as premier and since last year as president, has long been accused by critics of being increasingly authoritarian and intolerant of criticism.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting