Turkey probes dozens over quake social media posts

Istanbul, Jan 27 (AFP/APP): Turkish prosecutors are investigating dozens of people for “provocative” social media messages about the deadly earthquake in eastern Turkey, reports said Monday.

The death toll from Friday’s quake in Elazig province reached 41 people as rescue teams pulled the body of the last missing person from under the rubble, the country’s disaster agency said.

The Ankara prosecutor’s office is investigating 50 individuals on suspicion of “spreading fear and panic” and “insulting the Turkish people, the Turkish republic and the state institutions”, the Hurriyet daily reported Monday.

The suspects are accused of sharing fake images about the quake on social media.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also criticised “immoral” online messages.

“They criticise the government’s actions over the past 20 years… Are we able to stop earthquakes?” he said on Sunday.

Turkish authorities were winding up their rescue efforts on Monday, with the government’s disaster agency AFAD saying a total 45 people had been pulled alive from the rubble.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told reporters that 24,000 tents had been provided, 1,000 container shelters were being built, and funds had been released to repair damaged buildings.

Most of the victims died in Elazig and some in the neighbouring province of Malatya. The quake was felt in other countries including Iraq and Syria.


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