Turkish police launch full-time unit to catch insults to government officials

The Turkish police authorities have established 11 new desks for the detection of cyber-crimes, the secularist Cumhuriyet newspaper said.

The desks are each intended to prevent and punish instances of a different crime: hacking, drugs, weapons sales, terrorism, insulting government officials, insulting the Turkish nation and its religious values, violence towards animals, escorts, child abuse, illegal gambling, and insulting sporting chants respectively.

So far, they have already produced 2,441 investigation reports into possible crimes, Cumhuriyet said.

However, social media users raised concerns that the new teams would make dissent over government policies, criticism of Islam or the discussion of issues such as the Armenian genocide even more difficult.

“How will they separate freedom of thought from insulting religion and the state? Exactly what will we write that will be counted as an insult?? A special team has been established at the police … It will watch those who ‘insult religion and the state’.”

“In this country, those committing crimes are always comfortable, and whenever someone says two words to them, they try to punish not those committing crimes but those remarking on them! That’s why the mafia are comfortable, that’s why the thief is happy, that’s why the rapist is happy-go-lucky!”