ISTANBUL (AP) — The Latest on the Istanbul nightclub attack (all times local):
Turkey’s deputy prime minister says authorities are monitoring hundreds of “provocative” social media accounts that allegedly support terrorism and foster divisiveness in society.
Numan Kurtulmus said Monday that 347 social media accounts which were determined to “sow seeds of enmity among the public” were under investigation, with legal action taken against 92 individuals.
Kurtulmus says authorities are working closely with social media providers such as Facebook and Twitter to shut down suspect accounts.
He says: “We are not going to sit by and watch as three to five social media trolls spread discord among the people.”
Turkey has prosecuted several people, including prominent government critics for allegedly spreading terrorist propaganda through social media. One of them, journalist Ahmet Sik, was arrested last week.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus says authorities have obtained the fingerprints and a basic description of the gunman who attacked an Istanbul nightclub attack and are close to identifying him.
Speaking to reporters Monday after a weekly Cabinet meeting, Kurtulmus also confirmed that eight people had been detained in connection to the attack.
Kurtulmus said the attack in the early hours of 2017 was a message from extremist organizations that they intend to continue to be a “scourge” against Turkey in the new year. Kurtulmus also said it was intended as a response to Turkey’s “successful and determined” military operation against the Islamic State group in northern Syria. Turkey had been rocked by a wave of violent attack in 2016.
Kurtulmus said Turkey was determined to continue fighting violent groups declaring: “Wherever they may hide in 2017, we will enter their lair… With the will of God, with the support of our people, with all our national capacity, we will bring them to their knees and give them all the necessary response.”
Turkey’s state-run news agency says a criminal complaint has been filed against people who used social media to praise the deadly New Year’s attack at a nightclub in Istanbul, as well as against several people who demonized the New Year celebration or threatened attacks.
The Turkish Bar Association filed a criminal complaint with the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s office on Monday, calling for the investigation and prosecution of those who praised the gun attack which killed 39 and injured dozens.
Some social media users praised the killings and condemned the night’s celebration on religious grounds.
The complaint also called for prosecution of a school administrator who banned New Year’s celebrations, those responsible for protests or banners depicting violence against Santa Claus, as well as a newspaper which published threatening headlines.
Prime Minister Binali Yilidirim sent a Twitter message on Sunday warning that legal action would be taken against those who praised terrorism.