In light of its new policy of marking hateful content, the company does little to stop PKK-linked accounts, which glorify violence against the Turkish state.

At the beginning of the social media era, many thought platforms such as Twitter and Facebook would provide somewhere for opposing views to thrive so that constructive debates could try to achieve reconciliation. 

But quite the opposite appears to be happening across social media, as people frequently continue to use their accounts to fuel anger and hatred against one other. 

Recently, Twitter blocked one of the tweets written by US President Donald Trump on ongoing anti-government protests in the US to condemn the death of George Floyd, a black man who breathed his last under the knee of a white police officer.

“When the looting starts, the shooting starts," the president wrote, referring to incidents of violence and looting at different protest sites. 

Although it marked Trump’s tweet, Twitter has largely been silent on the various accounts propagating the ideas emanating from terror groups such as the PKK, Daesh and Al Qaida who are all one way or another, unabashedly glorifying violence.  

A screenshot of a tweet by US President Donald Trump posted on May 29, 2020.
A screenshot of a tweet by US President Donald Trump posted on May 29, 2020. (Twitter/@realDonaldTrump / Reuters Archive)

Mazloum Abdi, the leader of the SDF, whose backbone is the YPG - the Syrian wing of the PKK - owns a blue-ticked Twitter account, confirmation that it has been verified by Twitter itself.

Syria-born Abdi joined the PKK, recognised as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US, NATO and the EU, in the 1990s. He participated in the group’s terror campaign against Ankara from his early years. 

The PKK’s three-decade-long reign of terror has cost tens of thousands of lives which include children, women and elders in Turkey and neighbouring countries. 

It is not only Abdi, for there are other accounts that support the PKK - they have sometimes been active under different aliases. 

A Twitter account, which calls itself YPG enternasionalist (internationalist), is one of them. It occasionally shares content glorifying the PKK and its leadership. 

There are also others that implicitly threatened a Turkish female teacher working in a pre-school in one of the eastern provinces. She was teaching “a dance routine with kids holding Turkish flags”. 

ANF, the Firat News Agency, which has been described by the world’s top media outlets as being linked to the PKK, has also shared various content supporting the terror group and the violence it glorifies. 

Today, the ANF’s Turkish-language account has shared an image of Murat Karayilan, one of the senior PKK terrorists located in Iraq’s Qandil Mountains, the terror group’s mountain headquarters, with a violent message. 

The ANF’s twitter message reads, “After the August 15 breakthrough, the most important and the second August 15 breakthrough is the June 1 assault,” said Karayilan, referring to the two dates the PKK launched terror attacks against Turkish security forces.

On 15 August, 1984, the PKK launched its first simultaneous terror attacks in Hakkari’s Semdinli and Siirt’s Eruh in Eastern Turkey, killing scores of people and beginning its decades-long terror campaign. 

After declaring a unilateral so-called ceasefire in 1999, following the capture of its founder and leader Abdullah Ocalan by Turkish security forces, the PKK declared its war against Turkey again on 1 June 1, 2004. 

The ANF’s Twitter account quoted Karayilan saying that “This war will continue even stronger (against Turkey) on the 17th anniversary of the June 1 assault.” 

Twitter has also hosted its platforms to other violent groups like Daesh. 

An academic article written last year by Stuart Macdonald, Daniel Grinnell, Anina Kinzel and Nuria Lorenzo-Dus found that “some Daesh supporters have persevered in their use of Twitter, using throwaway accounts to share outlinks to pro-Daesh materials on other platforms.” 

Their analysis has revealed that “892 outlinks found in 11,520 tweets that contained the word Rumiyah (Daesh’s online magazine).” 

Source: TRT World