Some 13 people arrested for TikTok posts in last six months in Turkey

Turkey’s Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya stated that 1,332 TikTok accounts were investigated due to posts featuring obscenity and child abuse, leading to the arrest of 13 account managers in the last six months. TikTok's regional manager will be heard in the Turkish Parliament on Dec.7.

Duvar English

Some 13 people were arrested for their posts on TikTok in the last six months, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya announced at the press conference held at the Security and Emergency Situations Coordination Centre (GAMER).

“We take action against account managers who create obscene content on this platform, generate income through live broadcasting with these images, and produce and share content that contains online child abuse,” the minister stated. 

While 13 of 1332 account managers were arrested, 48 were released under judicial control measures and deportation procedures were initiated for 14 people.

The minister underscored that investigation about 612 accounts have not been finalized.

TikTok representative to be heard in Parliament

TikTok's Middle East, North Africa, Turkey Region Public Policy Manager will be heard in the Turkish Parliament on Dec.7

Hüseyin Yayman, Chair of the Parliamentary Commission on Digital Media and ruling Justice and Development Party lawmaker, said that they do not tolerate digital networks conducting their activities without any moral values, in a way that would destroy the family structure of Turkey.

Yayman added that he condemns TikTok's behavior that does not comply with Turkey's “culture, customs, religion, and social norms,” and called courts to take action.

Constitutionally, Turkey is a secular country without any official religion. 

Referring to the issue of sanctions, Yayman said, "TikTok can be given penalties, including reprimand, band narrowing, or advertising ban. As a commission, we do not have such authorization, but we have the power to propose to relevant authorities.”

TikTok turns into money laundering tool in Turkey

As a platform, TikTok allows users who reach a certain number of followers to open live broadcasts on the platform. In these live broadcasts, other users send gifts purchased for a certain price, and recipients earn as much money as the equivalent of these gifts after the platform’s cuts.

These live broadcasts have become a tool for money laundering in Turkey. In June, police conducted an operation against 215 suspects in 37 provinces on the grounds that they made 1.2 billion Turkish liras worth of money laundering on TikTok. During the operation, 120 people, including influencers, were detained.

Also, many Turkish influencers have recently been arrested and their assets were seized by the government after money laundering and tax aversion charges. 

Journalist Murat Ağırel reported that the gift system became an important channel for money laundering and that Turkish authorities have been aware of this.

Ağırel stated that stolen credit cards from various parts of the world have also been utilized in this scheme. Some users reportedly visit banks after sending gifts, claiming that their child accidentally sent a gift, and manage to obtain refunds. However, TikTok, being unaware of these transaction cancellations, facilitates money transfers from the pool.

According to the Digital World Report published by WeAreSocial in April 2023, the number of social media users in Turkey is 58.65 million. Users spend roughly three hours a day on social platforms. The number of people using the TikTok application has reached 30 million.