* Drawing: Chappatte, The New York Times
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The Ministry of Interior has announced that social media will be under scrutiny ahead of the March 31 local elections to counter "provocative posts."
The "Election Measures Circular", which was signed by Minister of Interior Süleyman Soylu, has been sent to the governorships of the 81 provinces and published on the official website of the Ministry.
It has been said in the circular, "The representatives of the international organizations which we are a member of and representatives of foreign embassies who will come to our country to watch elections will be treated with necessary hospitality and provided appropriate work environment."
"Keeping generators ready against the risk of power cut on election day" is also among the measures:
"To prevent power cuts in the election process and particularly on the election day, measures regarding energy distribution centers, natural gas and petroleum pipelines and other sensitive facilities will be scrutinized.
"The necessary coordination with the related institutions will be ensured. Generators and similar power sources will be ready for use in all places related to the elections."
The Ministry of Interior has announced the following measures regarding the voting places:
"In the schools in which voting will take place, necessary measures will be taken for all kinds of camera systems to be operational.
"Technical infrastructure of the buildings will be checked, lighting systems and security cameras will be kept working."
Monitoring social media posts in also among the measures that the Ministry will take:
"Necessary measures will be taken against the cyber attacks and sabotage missions that aim to make the informatic systems dysfunctional.
"Particularly, 'provocative posts' shared on social media will be monitored closely by our 'combating cyber crimes teams/squads' and any kind of provocation will not be allowed."
The circular has also mentioned the Syrian refugees, saying,
"The necessary measures will be taken to prevent public order incidents from being transformed into social incidents by provocative actions over ethnic and cultural identities."
42,406 social media accounts investigated in one year
According to the Ministry of Interior, 42,406 social media accounts were investigated and legal action was taken against 18,376 persons between January 1 and December 31, 2018.
Minister Soylu said, "In 2018, 110 thousand social media accounts have been investigated, users of 45 thousand accounts have been identified, 7 thousand of them have been caught and sent to judicial authorities" on December 11.
İstanbul General Directorate of Security said that legal action was taken against 2,793 people in 2018.