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Turkey to fight “propaganda and perception operations”

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Turkey’s Presidency said on Friday it had formed a new department to fight attempts at “manipulation and disinformation” targeting the country.

The unit’s tasks include strategic communications and crisis management during times of natural disaster, emergency and war, as well as identifying “psychological operations, propaganda and perception operations waged against Turkey”, it said.

President Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party, which has ruled Turkey for 18 years, frequently criticises foreign media but has come under criticism for its treatment of journalists at home.

The media watchdog International Press Institute said last year more than 120 journalists were being held in Turkey’s jails and the situation had not improved since the lifting of a two-year state of emergency following a failed 2016 coup.

Hundreds of journalists had faced prosecution since the coup, mainly on terrorism-related charges, the IPI said.

Many Turks have also been charged over social media posts insulting Erdogan or his ministers, or for criticism related to Turkey’s military operations in Syria and Iraq and the handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

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