Turkey takes aim at any criticism against Syria offensive

Turkey’s police department announced on Wendesday that it had launched investigations into 78 people over social media posts criticising Turkey’ military offensive in northern Syria while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan attacked the European Union criticism of the Syria offensive.

“Legal proceedings have started as of Oct. 9, 2019, for 78 persons who provoked hatred and enmity among people by engaging in black propaganda against our country over Operation Peace Spring, who shared ungrounded and false posts to damage the credibility of our security forces, and who were observed to be engaged in terror propaganda,” it said in a written statement.

Turkish police also detained two journalists from opposition news outlets on Thursday morning.

Hakan Demir, the internet editor of the leftist Birgün newspaper, was taken into custody after the police raided his house early morning, Birgün said.

Gökhan Diler, the managing editor of independent news site Diken, is also under detention over provoking hatred and enmity, Birgün said.

Some 21 people have been detained in the southeastern province of Mardin over their social media posts denouncing Turkey’s military operation, pro-government TGRT Haber reported on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Erdoğan said Turkey would open its borders and send 3.6 million Syrians refugees residing in the country to Europe if it labelled Turkish military offensive into northeast Syria as an occupation.

declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU called on Turkey to cease unilateral military action in Syria on Wednesday, saying renewed hostilities in northeast Syria would undermine the stability of the whole region, exacerbate civilian suffering and provoke further displacements.

“If you try to define our operation as an ‘occupation’, our job is easy, we will open the gates and send 3.6 refugees to you,” Erdoğan said