The Turkish Ministry of National Defence has issued a ban on the use of smartphones by soldiers in operational areas, a move that comes amid rising security concerns and an increase in military casualties against Kurdish guerrilla forces. The ban specifically targets the use of smartphones with camera capabilities within operation and combat zones.
According to the Ministry, this decision was made in response to the vulnerabilities posed by the usage of smartphones in these areas. “Prior to deployment in operation zones, personnel will undergo awareness training on communication needs, social media usage, and the potential negative impacts of using devices, systems, and applications,” the Ministry statement elaborated.
The ban is a reaction to incidents where soldiers’ use of smartphones in operational zones compromised security. Such breaches have included sharing sensitive information on social media, potentially endangering operations and lives. The Ministry’s statement warns, “Severe sanctions will be imposed on personnel found sharing content that constitutes a crime in violation of relevant regulations and orders.”
Furthermore, the Ministry’s announcement arrives against the backdrop of a political storm in Turkey, following recent clashes with Kurdish guerrillas. The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (DEM Party) has been vocal about resolving the Kurdish issue peacefully amid these growing tensions. Co-chair Tuncer Bakırhan stressed the need for a peaceful resolution to prevent further loss of life and the importance of addressing the Kurdish issue for regional peace.
Former Turkish nationalist and now pacifist, Yannis Vasilis Yaylalı, and journalist Erk Acarer have voiced significant concerns regarding the rationale behind military deployments in hazardous winter conditions, potentially linked to political motives with the upcoming elections.