UPDATES WITH ARREST WARRANTS AND ONE MORE ARREST
By Kemal Karadag and Muhammed Enes Can
ANKARA (AA) - Three suspects were arrested in Turkey for promoting PKK terrorist group using their social media accounts, officials said.
Some users began promoting the terrorist group on social media after the Turkish military launched an operation in Syria’s northwestern Afrin region to establish security and stability along the country’s borders and region as well as to eliminate PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh terror groups.
Investigations were launched by chief public prosecutor's offices in Ankara, Van, Diyarbakir, Mardin, Mus and Istanbul against some pro-PKK social media users, who share delusive information on social media.
As a part of the investigation, one suspect was arrested in Mardin and another was held in Mus, according to security officials, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on talking to the media.
Later, Refai Baran, who is Turkish opposition Peoples' Democratic Party’s (HDP) district head of Diyarbakir’s Bismil, was also arrested.
Chief prosecutors started to investigate sharing of a picture of an injured child on Saturday night and Sunday. The social media users were claiming that the picture was taken during the Afrin operation.
The claim is completely false, which aims to mislead the public through a perception operation, the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, said earlier.
That picture was taken in 2016 and is not related to Turkish Armed Forces or Operation Olive Branch, the source added.
Chief Public Prosecutors’ Office in Istanbul said in a statement that law-enforcement units were informed to take the legal course against the people supporting terrorist groups and holding demonstrations for provocation.
The office in Istanbul also issued arrest warrants for 18 suspects, as part of the investigation.
On Saturday, Turkish General Staff said the airstrikes destroyed more than 100 targets of the terrorist group in Afrin.
The operation was being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council’s decisions, self-defense rights under the UN charter and respect to Syria's territorial integrity, the Turkish General Staff has said.
The military also said only terrorist targets were being destroyed and "utmost importance" was being given to not harm any civilian.
The PYD/PKK is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist group, which has been designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU.