Turkey arrests 786 in week over anti-Syria propaganda

Turkey’s Interior Ministry said police and prosecutors had arrested 786 people over the past week for propaganda, provocation and protests against the military’s incursion into Kurdish-controlled Afrin in northern Syria.

The arrests were in addition to wider operations against terror and related crimes in which a total of 1,345 arrests were made, the ministry in Ankara said on its website on Monday.

Turkey has stepped up a crackdown on dissent since the military entered Syria on Jan. 20 and has drawn widespread criticism from human rights groups and statements of concern from the European Union and United States.

The country has a large Kurdish minority, many of whom see the operation in Afrin as an attack on Kurdish moves for self-determination and democratic representation in the wider region, including southeastern Turkey. Lefist activists who oppose the rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and members of peace movements have also felt of the crackdown.