Hurriyet, 5 August 2021: The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has launched a probe into social media posts that asked for foreign help with the hashtag Help Turkey following wildfires in the country.
In a statement on 5 August 2021, the prosecutor’s office argued that the posts were trying to show the country as ‘incapable’ and had ‘attempted to create panic, fear and concern among the public.
It was stated as a result of an examination, it had been determined that some individuals and groups were trying to create anxiety, fear and panic among the people and humiliate the Turkish state and government through real or bot accounts.
It was stated the accounts had disseminated what was described as ‘unreal content’ on the fires and tried to create an environment of ‘chaos by provoking social media users who were sensitive about the subject’.
It was added by the Prosecution that the same accounts had been previously been used by terrorist organisations.
It was said that it had been decided that there was visual and written content that had negatively affected the morale and motivation of public officials and volunteers fighting the fires by putting allegations and news (which were said to be without a basis) into circulation, causing the people in the region to despair, and were intended to show the state was incapable of fighting the fire which constituted a crime.
The prosecutor has drawn up charges of ‘insulting a public employee’, ‘insulting the president’, insulting the government, ‘causing concern, fear and panic among the public’; and ‘inciting hatred and enmity’.
Instructions have been given to carry out the necessary technical analysis in order to identify the real individuals who have participated in the crime; by coordinating fake accounts and circulating the posts which contained the ‘criminal elements’. News investigations will begin if a crime is detected.
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