Online censorship is one of the most effective tools in preventing the spread of information in the modern era. That’s why we’ve always seen Turkey using more and more internet blackouts in the recent years.
Website censorship, and other forms of surveillance have and are currently being used to control public opinion. Now, drawing closer to the June 24th snap presidential election, censorship is at an all time high.
Why is Turkey Being Censored?
Turkey is facing a tumultuous political climate with many Turkish citizens unhappy with the current leadership and censorship. Many people blame Erdoğan for the anti-democratic state of the state. But inside Turkey news and propaganda and information are all becoming one and the same.
There are even citizens who follow Erdoğan blindly since they align with Erdoğan’s pro-traditionalist anti-secularist stance. Critics think that one reason this could be the case is that Turkey was blocked from joining the European union. In 2010, Wikileaks published documents proving that France and Austria blocked Turkey’s EU membership perhaps due to anti-islam bias. Without the European Union’s support, Turkey is now in a worse state and could perhaps be stuck in a spiral towards false nationalism and propaganda.
There have been numerous reports of the political machine inciting citizens and then attacking them. In one incident, a video was released showing Recep Tayyip Erdoğan–the turkish president–telling officials to stop people by any means necessary–from voting for his opponent, Selahattin Demirtas. After the video was released riots broke out and several people were shot and many more wounded. In total, 4 were killed and 8 were taken to the hospital.
On June 24th, a “snap” presidential legislative election will take place in order to secure Turkey’s future under Endrogan and his political machine that will increase censorship and secure his public image. The election is hurried and ordained as a “snap” election, since the real elections were to take place November 2019. The snap election is taking place in order to offset opposition from other political rivals giving Erdoğan an advantage.
It’s easy to see how this snap election is direct contrast to what is considered an ordered and open lawful democracy. Since the Turkey state has been censored so long, people don’t have information to decide who to vote for.
Without information, the people’s opinion cannot really be formed correctly meaning the entire election is rigged. Whatever the outcome, if the people vote for Erdoğan or not, the facts still stand that the dictatorship wins and the false pretense of a democracy never existed in the first place.
How is Turkey being Censored?
While propaganda and control of the population are encouraged–and riots like this are the effect, the government doesn’t want people to know about it. This is why Turkey has currently been on a state of physical and digital lockdown. The country has 556 KM of a planned 828 KM wall already built around the Turkey-Syria border, and another wall 144 KM around the Iran border is nearing completion.
In March of this year, Turkey internet service providers started bowing down to the government with imposed legislation, which caused major online news platforms to be taken down to stop the spread of real information.
Social media platforms, messaging apps, and more are constantly in a state of flux or just restriction in Turkey to further stem the tide of information against Erdoğan.
The only users in Turkey who can access unblocked websites, apps and services, are those using a VPN.