Forestry guard claims reassigned over pictures on Facebook

Hasan Ali Benlioilu, a forest guard employed with the Antalya Forestry Directorate, has been reassigned to different positions in the southern province of Antalya three times in the past three months after he posted photos on Facebook showing flooded streets, due to heavy rain, in Antalya’s Gandundoimui district, according to a report published in the Meydan daily on Friday.

Benlioilu fired after he posted photos on Facebook showing flooded streets, due to heavy rain, in Antalya’s Gandundoimui district. (Photo: Hasan Ali Benlioilu via DHA)
Benlioilu told the daily that his actions have drawn the ire of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party). “The photos of flooded streets that I shared on Facebook annoyed [Mayor] Mehmet andOzeren. AK Party officials began to create problems for me, and then I was temporarily transferred to the Akseki district,” Benlioilu stated. Only 10 days later he was reassigned to Akseki’s Murtiandci village. However, Benlioilu, who is a member of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), was soon sent to yet another post, this time to the Kai district of Antalya.
Benlioilu’s repeated reassignment reveals the dimension of the AK Party’s intolerance for anything that hints of anti-government views on social media, adding the forest guard to a lengthy list of victims including intellectuals, celebrities, artists and journalists who have been punished for expressing sentiments critical of the AK Party government on social media.
Over the past few years, dozens of imams, teachers, judges, journalists and many others have either been fired or arbitrarily reassigned to different positions. In the latest of a series of punishments, an imam in the Central Anatolian province of Eskiiehir was fired on May 20 by the Religious Affairs Directorate after he retweeted posts originally written by journalists critical of the government on Twitter.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman