Turkish police detained political scientist Özgün Emre Koç over his social media posts in criticism of the government’s failure to respond adequately to the earthquake victims.
In a tweet late on Feb. 7, Koç announced that he was being taken to the Istanbul police headquarters on Vatan Avenue for interrogation.
Vatan emniyete ifade vermeye götürülüyorum.— Özgün Emre Koç (@ozgunemrek) February 7, 2023
Daily Birgün said that Koç was facing charges of “inciting the public into hatred and hostility” and would be dispatched to the Kartal Courthouse after his interrogation on Feb. 8.
Koç was one of the people who had shared social media posts about the government’s response to the two devastating quakes that shook the southeastern region of the country early on Feb. 6.
In one of his posts, Koç had urged the government to receive help from the military, saying that soldiers could “carry debris, distribute blankets, soup to people and bolster their morale.” “You did not have it done. You are traitors,” Koç had written, in reference to government officials.
Sadece Hatay'da yerleşik olan kışlalarda binlerce asker var. Komando tugayı var, her yere ulaşabilecek mekanize birlikler var, alay komutanlıkları var... Hiçbir şey yapmasalar moloz taşır, halka battaniye çorba dağıtır moral verirlerdi. Yaptırmadınız. Hainsiniz.— Özgün Emre Koç (@ozgunemrek) February 7, 2023
One day after, Koç said that he was released. "I'm back. Our government was not lazy among all their work, and hosted me for one night. Thank you to everyone who supported. I or others, millions of people will continue to speak the truth," he said in a tweet.
Merhaba. Ben döndüm. Hükümetimiz sağ olsun onca işin gücün arasında üşenmedi, beni bir gece misafir etti. Destek olan herkese teşekkür ederim. Ben veya başkaları, milyonlarca insan hakikati söylemeye devam edecek. Yalnız biz de bunu deftere yazdık. https://t.co/U026UGfc7q— Özgün Emre Koç (@ozgunemrek) February 8, 2023
Earlier on Feb. 7, the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office initiated an investigation into journalists Merdan Yanardağ and Enver Aysever with regards to their remarks on the major earthquakes, daily Birgün said. The two journalists are reportedly facing the same charge of “inciting the public into hatred and hostility.”
Erdoğan tells people to heed remarks only coming from authorities, ignore ‘provocateurs’
Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has acknowledged some problems with the initial response to the disaster, but argued that “the situation is under control” now, in comments made in the quake-stricken province of Kahramanmaraş on Feb. 8.
Erdoğan said that the nation should only pay attention to remarks coming from the authorities and ignore people he labelled as "provocateurs.”
The president’s remarks came one day after the General Directorate of Security (EGM) announced that four people were detained over their "provocative" social media messages.