Probe into dissident social media accounts spark concerns amidst elections in Turkey

Probe into dissident social media accounts spark concerns amidst elections in Turkey
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Despite President Tayyip Erdogan's admission of using manipulated videos of his rival, the prosecutor's office in Istanbul has chosen to invoke the disinformation law to target opposition voices including Arti Gercek.

The initiation of a probe into alleged disinformation spread by dissident social media accounts has raised significant concerns in Turkey, as the country heads to the second round of presidential elections on Sunday.

Despite President Tayyip Erdogan himself admitting to showcasing manipulated videos of his rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu during campaign rallies, the prosecutor's office in Istanbul has invoked the newly enacted disinformation law to launch an investigation primarily targeting opposition voices within the realm of social media.

34 social media accounts, including artigercek, are being accused of perpetrating the dissemination of deceptive information. In order to facilitate the identification of account owners and gather crucial testimonies, the cyber crimes unit has been mobilized, with authorities anticipating the subsequent drafting of indictments against the suspected individuals.

Among those ensnared in the investigative web is the prominent journalist Sevilay Yilman, whose social media account has come under intense scrutiny. Yilman said the investigation constitutes a direct reprisal for her unwavering support of the opposition and its candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu. In a defiant tone, she declared, "It appears that certain forces cannot stomach my freedom. How can there possibly be any association between me and manipulation, or me and disinformation? I am a journalist, and I simply exercise my duty to convey my own thoughts and opinions. May your oppression be exposed!"

The list of targeted social media accounts spans a wide spectrum of voices, comprising both journalists and individual commentators who have dared to challenge the prevailing narrative. From established entities such as @ajansmuhbir Muhbir (Muhbir News Agency) and @solcugazete (Leftist Newspaper) to independent voices like @sevilayyaziyor (Sevilay Yılman), these accounts find themselves grappling with the ominous implications of a potential crackdown on dissenting opinions within the virtual realm.