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Twelve suspects were remanded into custody on suspicion of promoting the PYD/PKK terrorist group on social media accounts across Turkey, police said Wednesday.
According to information received from police officials, 150 suspects were arrested in nationwide operations carried out in 31 provinces as part of investigations launched by the provincial chief public prosecutor’s office into social media activities promoting the terrorist organization and against Turkey’s ongoing military operation in Syria’s Afrin region.
On Saturday, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorist groups from the northwestern Afrin region.
Eleven suspects were remanded into custody by authorities, while the courts released seven others, including three under judicial control, officials said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
The remaining 132 suspects are still under interrogation.
Separately, a court in southeastern Adiyaman province remanded two suspects Monday on the same charges, including a university student.
HDP’s provincial head among arrested
At least 38 people were arrested during operations across the country Monday.
In the northwestern Kocaeli procvince. 10 suspects were arrested.
In southern Antalya province, 10 more people were arrested.
Another 18 suspects were arrested in Adiyaman, Gaziantep, Malatya, Nigde and Zonguldak provinces.
The provincial head of the opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) in Nigde, Goksel Riza Ozkan, was among those arrested.
In eastern Malatya province, a high penal court sentenced Nihat Demir, already jailed for another crime, to 10 months in prison for terrorist PYD/PKK propaganda on social media.
Meanwhile, police launched an Erzurum-based investigation across five provinces against PYD/PKK propaganda on social media.
The Turkish General Staff has said the Afrin operation was aimed at establishing security and stability along Turkish borders and the region as well as protecting the Syrian people from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists.
It said the operation was being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law.
The military also said "utmost diligence" was shown to avoid collateral damage to civilians.
Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012 when the Bashar Assad regime left the city to the terror group without putting up a fight.
*Kemal Karagoz and Ismail Kaya from Adiyaman, Kerem Kocalar from Gaziantep, Sagip Sezginer from Erzurum, Volkan Kasik from Malatya, Fatih Yazicioglu from Nigde, Ferdi Akilli from Zonguldak and Sengul Oymak from Kocaeli contributed the story.