In another instance of overreaching internet censorship, Turkey has shut down mobile and landline internet access across 11 cities in the southeast area of the country. This decision was a result of the local protest over Diyarbakır’s co-mayors, Gültan Kışanak and Fırat Anlı, being detained on “terrorism” charges.
The internet blockage started around 10 am local time on the 26th and continued for 12 hours in over 11 cities (Diyarbakır, Mardin, Batman, Siirt, Van, Elazığ, Tunceli, Gaziantep, Şanlıfurfa, Kilis, and Adıyaman.)
On the 27th, another shutdown occurred in the same cities and is ongoing. The restriction takes away internet from around 6 million citizens in Turkey–regardless of how they use it or their participation in protests. This means that point of sale machines in pharmacies, as well as banks who use the internet, were rendered inoperable.
The restriction effectively took away information from southeastern Turkish citizens so they couldn’t get updates on the broad political unrest. However, the impact across the region seems to be mostly uncalled for due to how it has affected all other forms of the industry including healthcare and banking.
Given the depth of the blockage, it’s aggravating to see that Turkish Telecom operators are so obviously in denial “claiming technical failures” without any proposed solution.
These wide-scale internet blockages affect institutions directly in a negative manner. Turkey spends millions to enforce such blockages to censor free speech on the internet that could be better spent elsewhere. It was only last month that we saw developers and entrepreneurs hit hard as well when wide scale cloud services were banned forcing residents to use VPN services.
It’s not likely that Turkey will drastically change its view on free speech and the spread of information. For now, you Turkish citizens must find a non blocked local ISP, or start using a VPN to get around these ridiculous Internet blockages.
By using a VPN like TorGuard, you can encrypt your internet traffic and remove restrictions by changing your IP. Once you connect to a remote server somewhere else in the world, you can use the internet without any blockages that could affect your business, family, or normal internet use.
TorGuard offers fast Turkish VPN servers in Istanbul, along with thousands of servers in over fifty countries world wide.