According to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the death toll from the deadly earthquakes in the southeast of the country has reached 48,000, with over 115,000 people suffering injuries.
“The death toll has risen to 48,000, and the number of injured has surpassed 115,000,” Mr. Erdogan declared in a televised speech to the country from the Samandag area of Hatay province.
Two earthquakes of magnitudes 7.7 and 7.6 struck Turkey‘s southeast on February 6 at intervals of nine hours.
Following this, there were thousands of underground shocks felt in 11 Turkish provinces and the surrounding nations, with Syria being the most affected.
The Turkish police reported that they had detained 78 persons in February on suspicion of spreading misinformation about the earthquake on social media by “posting provocative posts,” and that 20 of them were being held in pre-trial detention.
According to the General Directorate of Security in Turkey, 613 persons have been named as suspects for posting offensive content, and 293 have already faced legal action, according to Reuters.
This group reported that the chief prosecutor has mandated the detention of 78 people.
The directorate had also stated that 15 social media profiles acting as official entities had been removed, in addition to 46 websites being taken down for operating “phishing schemes” in an effort to steal money for earthquake victims.
The adoption of a law by Turkey’s parliament last October that allows for up to three years in prison for spreading “disinformation” among journalists and users of social media raised concerns about free speech among rights organizations and European nations, particularly in light of the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections this summer.
The party in power under President Tayyip Erdogan had claimed that while a law was necessary to address false charges on social media, it would not suppress opposition. In the past, the government has also prohibited social media.