Turkey to Secede From www to ttt as Governments Move to Squash Dissenting Voices

Turkey’s minister of transportation, maritime and communications, Lutfi Elvan has stated that there is now a possibility of replacing the global standard of www with a nationally locked ttt protocol. He has claimed that this is not only happening in Turkey but a widely discussed issue among EU authorities as well.

The minister has stated that due to lack of infrastructure Turkey has been experiencing several misunderstandings with Twitter management over the past year, and showed creation of a national internet protocol as a possible solution to these.

Elvan also referred to the United Nations and said “the internet should have a constitution much like the UN charter, declaring all rights and responsibilities and not only rely on the American laws which cover majority of these social media companies. We need a one and united law regulating the internet globally, otherwise states can create their national internet protocols to sustain their safety. This has been discussed for a long time, we can create a protocol of ttt and separate Turkish users from the others, make it impossible for them to reach other systems.”


This attitude of creating a national internet protocol aims to isolate a country from rest of the world and block access to platforms which serve as a virtual public space where one can express feelings, and opinions, and be heard globally. This blocking access to the global village of the internet will initially create discontent among users, but the problem would begin when people start getting used to it. On the other hand this statement by the minister also reminds us all of vice-prime minister’s statement during Gezi Park protests “we could have shut down all access to internet if we wanted… but we didn’t, so see that we had goodwill.”

Would it work really?

Serhat Ayan of the TKNLJ and Pirate Party of Turkey has evaluated this statement and explained the facts behind creation of a national restricted internet protocol.

He states that the world has never ever discussed creation of a new internet, on the contrary there has been discussions focusing on the diversification of the present one. While doing this the main demand is for ICANN -the institution managing web site domain names- to listen to comments more and become more transparent.

There is absolutely no talk of changing the system as a whole because there is disrespect to international law norms. Because internet guidance is being carried out -unlike Turkish one- through international law norms. In order for all these laws to be understood in the same manner throughout the world, they are coded as widely as possible, including all international norms.

Establishing a national protocol would not actually mean that these social media platforms would care more for the national legislation. The norm followed for managing social media, freedom of speech and access to information is the international law that is much wider than national ones which might sometimes be over-protective or restrictive.

It would not really matter which country a company may be established, it would have to follow international law in order to succeed in global market. However this attempt to create a closed-border internet protocol in national scale has been tried out by Iran, and it would be quite easy to see the experiences of Iran after isolationism, censorship, and surveillance.

Creation of national internet protocol can in fact be synonymous with saying that the state is terrified of its citizens and knows of no other way of forcing them to not express their opinion freely. As self-censorship agenda seems to have failed and more and more people are getting critical of their government and do not restrain from openly criticizing it, states such as AKP’s Turkey will need to have a look at the mirror and decide whether they would wish to go against democratic principles in face of a whole big part of the society that demands them.

Posted in AKP, Censorship, Digital, media freedom, Social Media, Turkey | Leave a comment

Erdoğan: “Even if the world might stand up against us, we will BAN!”

Erdoğan held his long-awaited Istanbul rally on Sunday, for which about a million people were bussed from other cities and districts of Istanbul. It was notable to see how public transport buses were used in organizing an AKP rally and how attendees at the event were well taken care of using public funds.

During his speech Erdoğan talked of the recent Twitter ban and gave signals of a new and more comprehensive ban on all social media, denying all allegations of corruption, election fraud, and breaches of international criminal law:

“No matter who might be, I am not listening! These companies called Twitter, YouTube, Facebook have destroyed families and family values. They have made up material, all kinds of lies. I can not understand how any sane person can defend these social media.

Twitter is not applying our court orders. Excuse my attitude but we are not a third-world country. All of them, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube will respect the laws of the Republic of Turkey. Just like they do to in the USA, China, Russia and England…

The media have started their attacks against us now. They call this intolerance… No matter who might it be; even if the world stood up against us, if there is something threatening my country I must take action. They talk of inexistent things like they have happened. Should I have let them go? Would you not take action? Is it not the reason why you have given us permission?

They [foreign powers] will stir up our country. You have seen what they have done in Gezi Park. You know what happened on December 17 [corruption probe]. So what? Should we stop?

They say, not everyone must think like Tayyip Erdoğan. But I don’t have to think like anyone else either. There is a will behind our government, we do as it sees fit. Telecommunications is under occupation in Turkey. All kinds of tricks happen. Courts do not close down those accounts.

Twitter is blocked because some brother went out tweeting disgusting information there about a sister. That person applied to courts, and they gave the decision to delete such content that has insults. TIB goes to Twitter to tell of this incident but they don’t listen. So we must take our precautions ourselves.

Twitter applies national law when it comes to England, Russia, Germany, China, India, but when it comes to Ukraine, Egypt and Turkey they call themselves ‘liberty.’

They insult Ataturk, swear at our holy values. Should we call this liberty and let it happen? Children get molested, there is racism; should we allow that? We will do all it takes, if not we will block them all! Turkey is not a banana republic.

Those who cry ‘but liberties are perishing,’ sorry… But we will fight against those who tapped our phones till the end. No one can infiltrate our privacy under the cover of liberty. They listen to everyone… These are criminals, they montage tapes, they dub conversations, they make up lies. No one can prosecute the Prime Minister like this! I can not even talk freely at home any more.

I don’t get what Twitter and such are […] If they will act honestly we will give all kinds of support. If they give up their immoralities we will support them. Otherwise, if they continue corrupting family values, they will have Turkey to deal with!

Posted in AKP, Censorship, corruption, Digital, Istanbul, Social Media, Turkey | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Turkey bans Twitter; other platforms next?


Erdogan threatened to “eradicate Twitter and the kind from its roots and end this breach of privacy and defamation” just hours before twitter was banned in Turkey. An urgent court decision has been passed within the framework of several laws, one of which is anti-terror law. Telecommunications Institute has announced that the ban is directed against defamation, violation of privacy, misinformation.

Since the Gezi Park protests of June 2013, there has been many court cases by Turkish state against Twitter to take down content, block access and share information of users with the Turkish authorities. Twitter, unlike -according to Turkish authorities- other social media platforms (including Facebook), did not open an office in Turkey and complied with Turkish court rulings.


In the last few months Turkey had strenghtened censorship and surveillance laws and infrastructure and Erdoğan had already said that right after the elections all social media platforms would be banned completely. Moreover he had accused Twitter of collaborating in a coup against his rule in Turkey with the participation of a “robot lobby”.

Only minutes after the ban got into effect, there started a campaign, calling people out on streets to protest against AKP. However it seemed very suspicious as when one analyses the twitter accounts of people who write with the hashtag, it is mostly people who previously tweeted for the AKP and actually seem to be bot-accounts of the party. As there has already been declarations that Erdoğan will do anything in order not to leave office, people had been warned that there would be provocations by the government to force people to take to streets and turn violent, thus leading up to a situation when elections could be cancelled.

Already, Erdoğan defied all kinds of restrictions against his party, AKP regarding “election prohibitions” which are aimed at creating a more egalitarian atmosphere without allowing any kind of exploitation of national symbols such as flag or national anthem, or any kind of religious symbols which might lead to unequal terms before elections. This is how AKP’s most recent TV ad got banned but after Erdoğan’s defying continued to circulate on televisions and social media exploiting national anthem, flag and religious values.

The most recent troublesome issues on social media in Turkey have been:

  • an informant from Erdoğan’s close circle leaking secret information as to how government is corrupt and is going to try to rig the votes,
  • former allies (especially Gülen’s Hizmet movement) declaring open criticism of the government on social media platforms,
  • leaked alleged phone conversations of government officials, ministers, prime minister and his family; regarding corruption, insult to religious values, bribes, international arms trade to fighting nations, violating sanctions on Iran, drug trafficking, etc.
  • rumours regarding an upcoming sex tape of some government officials or another possible leak about death/killing of a nationalist political leader some years ago

Erdoğan at his party’s rally today in Bursa:

“We now have a court order. We’ll eradicate Twitter. I don’t care what the international community says. Everyone will witness the power of the Turkish Republic”


In the first hours of the ban, millions of users changed settings, used proxies and VPNs to tweet and protest on twitter against AKP’s censorship; Twitter headquarters also enabled sms-tweeting for Turkish users now.

twit ye

Posted in AKP, Censorship, Digital, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Turkish Opposition Goes Activist-Style

The recent corruption allegations have been gathered and made into a mass statement consisting of 300 pages revealing all kinds of corruption of the government, from illegal arms transfers and billions of euros worth of bribes to trafficking in women. The opposition parties wanted these allegations to be brought to the parliament floor to be discussed officially before the elections, but the ruling AKP party refused this request. Later on, opposition members of the parliament demanded an urgent meeting to discuss corruption allegations, which AKP members had to participate in but rejected open discussion – which means an actual broadcast ban!

Melda Onur, an opposition deputy from the main opposition party, CHP, circumvented this ban through her social media account. She started a livestream of the banned discussion. Obviously, in this day and age, there cannot be a functioning ban of any sort when it comes to freedom of information and the right to acquire knowledge. When one of her Twitter followers asked what would happen if she gets subjected to a parliamentary investigation regarding her circumvention of the broadcast ban, she simply responded “I bite such an investigation :)”

Unfortunately, with the dominant presence of AKP members in the parliament, the entire united opposition cannot pass any motion or even keep discussions from being postponed to a later date or time.

Posted in AKP, Censorship, corruption, Digital, media freedom, Social Media, Turkey | Leave a comment

How was Berkin Elvan killed?


14 year old ‪#‎Berkin‬ Elvan was shot with a 850 gr. gas cannister on june 16th. He was not a protester he was going to the market to buy some bread. He was in a coma trying to survive fighting infections and high fever for 268 days. He was 16 kgs when he died today, at 07.00 am. Now the police are attacking the hospital he has been staying at and another protester was shot in the head during the attacks. He is unconscious now. The family did not have time to mourn their child before the police attack. Be aware of the police violence in Turkiye. Let everyone know about the dictator.



Berkin Elvan de 15 años. El 16 de junio fue golpeado por una cápsula de gas lacrimógeno disparado por la policia.No era activista sino que simplemente iba a comprar pan para desajunar con su famila. Durante los ultimos 268 dias, Berkin se encontraba en estado de coma luchando por su vida. En el día de hoy, en Estambul, la policia se encuentra atacando a la gente que está protestando en el hospital en donde falleció Berkin. Un activista ha resultado herido en la cabeza por recibir un disparo de gas lacrimógeno justo como le paso a Berkin el 16 de junio pasado. La familia de Berkin nunca tuvo la oportuninad de llorar para su hijo. Es necesario que seamos conscientes de la brutalidad policial en Turquia. Haz que sepa todo el mundo a este asesino dictador!!



Le premier juin, Berkin Elvan , un garçon de 14 ans a eu une capsule de gaz de 850 grammes sur sa tête, il n’était pas parmi les manifestants il allait seulement acheter du pain. Pendant 268 jours il a lutté contre l’infection et la fièvre au coma. Ce matin, quand il est décédé, il pesait 16 kg. Maintenant, les polices attaquent les manifestants devant l’hôpital et cependant un manifestant a eu une balle dans sa tête, il a perdu sa conscience. Sa famille, elle n’a pas eu le temps de faire son deuil, prends conscience de la violence policière en Turquie. Parle à tout le monde de cet dictateur.



Berkin Elvan, ein 14 jaehriger Junge, ist heute im Koma gestorben. Er wurde am 1. Juni von einem 850gr. Traenengaskanister am Kopf getroffen. Er war nicht gekommen um zu protestieren, sondern kaufte ein Brot im Laden und war auf dem Weg nach Hause. Seit heute Morgen werden die Menschen, die zum Krankenhaus gekommen sind, um ihr Beileid auszusprechen, wieder von Gaskanistern bombardiert. Die Gassbomben werden teilweise auch ins Krankenhaus geschossen. Ein weiterer Mann wurde bei diesen Attacken am Kopf getroffen und schwer verletzt- er ist derzeit bewusstlos. Lasst alle wissen, was hier los ist! Der Staat laesst morden ohne mit der Wimper zu zucken!



Darrere del Berkin Avui, 11 de març de 2014, he perdut un amic que estava al meu costat, ens recolzàvem contra tot el mal que hi ha en aquest país que cada vegada sembla més un infern. Un amic del qui no conec la seva cara, del qui no conec la seva olor tendra, no sé com eren els seus ulls negres que veia com a olives, no sé quins somnis tenia, no sé si es va enamorar alguna vegada. Mai vaig poder tocar la seva mà. Ell estava al meu costat, em recolzava, creixíem junts, i ens oferia la seva espatlla quan un dels nostres no tenia força; només calia girar-nos cap a un costat, i allí es trobaven els nostres ulls, així superàvem la nostra desesperança. Empentàvem el món perquè es mogués, per a que caigués tot a la merda que hi havia dins d’ell. Van arrancar el meu amic del meu costat, i la meva espatlla esquerra s’ha quedat tallada, ara sangra. Berkin Elvan no era activista. Tenia només 14 anys quan va ser ferit per una bomba de gas l6’1 de juny de 2014. Anava a comprar pa per casa seva i es va trobar amb la violència de l’Estat turc. Va resistir 268 dies en un hospital d’Istanbul i aquest matí se li han tancat els seus ulls. Ara continua la guerra davant d’aquest hospital, la mateixa violència ja ha ferit un amic més.
14 yaşindaki Berkin Elvan 1 Haziran’da başından 850 gramlık bir gaz kapsülüyle vuruldu. Eylemci değildi, ekmek almaya gidiyordu. 268 gün boyunca enfeksiyon ve yüksek ateşle mücadele ederek komada kaldı. Bugün sabah saat 07.00 da öldüğünde 16 kiloydu. Şu anda polis bunca zamandır yatmakta olduğu hastaneye saldırmakta ve bu saldırılar sırasında bir eylemci daha başından vuruldu. Şu anda bilinci kapalı. Ailesinin çocuklarının yasını tutmaya fırsatı olmadı. Türkiye’deki polis vahşetinin farkında ol. Diktatörü herkesin bilmesini sağla!

“Berkin Elvan aveva 14 anni ed il primo giugno è stato colpito da un lacrimogeno che pesava 850 grammi. Non era un attivista. Stava andando a comprare il pane. Per 268 giorni ha provato a combattere contro infezioni e febbre alta: era in coma. Oggi, alle 07:00, quando è morto, pesava 16 chili. In questo momento la polizia sta attaccando l’ospedale dove Berkin era ricoverato, e durante questi attacchi un altro attivista è rimasto colpito alla testa ed ha perso conoscenza. La sua famiglia non ha nemmeno avuto la possibilità di piangere il proprio figlio: la polizia ha subito attaccato. Sii consapevole delle brutalità che la polizia attua in Turchia. Fai sapere a tutte le persone del dittatore assassino!”


Berkin Elvan (14) blev skjuten av turkiska polisen med en tårgaskapsyl när han var på väg till affären för 268 dagar sedan. Sedan dess har han legat i koma, fram till i morse då han slutligen avled. Han vägde endast 16 kilo när han dog. 14 år gammal # BerkinElvan blev skjuten med en 850 gr. gas cannister den 1 juni. Han var inte en demonstrant han var på väg till marknaden för att köpa lite bröd. Han låg i koma försöker överleva bekämpa infektioner och hög feber för 268 dagar. Han var 16 kg när han dog idag, kl 07:00. Nu polisen attackerar sjukhuset han har kvar på och en annan demonstrant sköts i huvudet under attackerna. Han är medvetslös nu. Familjen har inte haft någon tid att sörja sina barn innan polisen har börjat attackera igen. Var medveten om polisvåld i Turkiye. Låt alla veta om diktatorn (Recep Tayyip Erdogan).

Berkin Elvan (14) ble skutt av tyrkisk politi med tåregass hette da han var på vei til butikken 268 dager siden. Siden da har han ligget i koma, før morgenen når han til slutt døde. Han veide bare 16 kilo da han døde. 14 år gammel # BerkinElvan ble skutt med en 850 gr. gass cannister den 1. juni. Han var ikke en demonstrant han skulle til markedet for å kjøpe brød. Han var i koma prøver å overleve bekjempe infeksjon og høy feber i 268 dager. Han var 16 kg da han i dag døde på 7:00. Nå politi angriper sykehuset han har igjen på og en annen demonstrant ble skutt i hodet under angrepene. Han er bevisstløs nå. Familien har ikke hatt tid til å sørge over hennes barn før politiet har begynt å angripe igjen. Vær klar over politiets brutalitet i Turkiye. La alle få vite om diktator.
PT | Berkin Elvan, 14 anos foi atingido com uma garrafa de gás em 1 de Junho de 2013. Ele não era um manifestante, ia apenas ao mercado comprar pão. Esteve em coma a tentar sobreviver combatendo infecções e febre durante 268 dias. Pesava 16 kgs quando morreu esta manhã às 7h da manhã. A polícia está a atacar o hospital em que ele estava e outro manifestante foi baleado na cabeça durante os protestos. Está inconsciente. A família não teve oportunidade de velar a criança, antes do ataque da polícia. Que se tome consciência da violência policial na Turquia.Que todo o mundo saiba acerca deste ditador.
CZ | Dnes v 7 hodin ráno zemřel 14letý ‪#‎Berkin‬ Elvas v kómatu v nemocnici. Do hlavy jej 1. června při protivládních prostestech zasáhla 850gramová plechovka slzného plynu. Nešel protestovat, pouze si koupil v obchodě chleba a byl na cestě domů. Od dnešního rána přicházejí k nemocnici lidé vyjádřit svou soustrast a policie je znovu bombarduje plechovkami plynu. Plechovky slzného plynu létají vzduchem i v nemocnici. Do hlavy byl při těchto útocích zasažen další muž, který je vážně zraněn a je v současné době v bezvědomí. Ať všichni vědí, co se tady děje! Stát nechává vraždit lidi bez mrknutí oka!
Pусский – 16 июня четырнадцатилетний ‪ Беркин‬ Эльван (Berkin‬ Elvan) был застрелен с 850 гр. газовой пулей. Он не был протестующим. Он собирался на рынок, чтобы купить хлеб. Он был в коме и боролся с инфекцией и высокой температурой на 268 дней, чтобы выжить. Он умер сегодня в 7:00 утра. После смерти он весил 16 кг. Теперь полицейские атакуют больницу, которая лежал Беркин, а другой протестующий выстрелян в голову во время нападений. Сейчас он находится в бессознательном состоянии. У семьи никогда не было возможности, чтобы оплакать своего ребенка, так как снова полицейские напали. Будьте в курсе о насилии со стороны полиции в Турции. Пусть все знают о диктаторе.
Dutch Op 16 juni kreeg de 14-jarige Berkin Elvan een gascapsule tegen zijn hoofd geschoten. Hij behoorde niet tot de demonstranten. Hij ging gewoon een brood kopen. Hij belandde in een coma en gedurende 268 dagen heeft hij gevochten tegen infecties en hoge koorts. Om 7u vanochtend, toen hij stierf, was zijn gewicht nog maar 16 kilogram. Op datzelfde moment valt de politie demonstranten aan voor het ziekenhuis waar hij verbleef. Weer is tijdens die aanval een demonstrant tegen het hoofd geschoten. Hij verloor het bewustzijn. De familie kreeg, voordat de politie aanviel, niet eens de kans om te rouwen voor hun kind. Neem hiermee akte van het politiegeweld in Turkije. Laat iedereen van deze dictator weten.
Greek; Tην 1 Ιουνίου ο 14-χρόνος Μπερκίν Ελβάν δέχτηκε στο κεφάλι 850 γρ. κάνιστρο δακρυγόνου. Δεν ήταν διαδηλωτής. Πήγαινε στο μάρκετ για ψωμί. Tις τελευταίες 268 ημέρες ήταν σε κωματώδη κατάσταση προσπαθώντας να επιβιώνει από μολύνσεις και υψηλό πυρετό. Ήταν μόνο 16 κιλά όταν πέθανε σήμερα στις 7:00 το πρωί. Σήμερα επιτέθηκε η αστυνομία στο νοσοκομείο όπου είχαν νοσηλεύσει τον Μπερκίν. Κατά την επίθεση της αστυνομίας τραυματίστηκε στο κεφάλι ένας διαδηλωτής που έμεινε λιπόθυμος για ώρες. Η οικογένεια του Μπερκίν δεν είχε χρόνο ούτε να θρηνήσει πριν την επίθεση της αστυνομίας. «Δεν είναι ο Θεός αλλά ο Ερντογάν που πήρε το παιδί μου», δήλωσε η μητέρα του Μπερκίν με δάκρυα στα μάτια. Ενημερώστε όλους για την αστυνομική βία και τον δικτάτορα στην Τουρκία.
Albanian: 14 vjecari Berkin Elvan u godit me 1 Qershor 2013 ne koke nga nje kapsulle 850 grameshe. Ai nuk ishte protestues , po shkonte te blinte buke. Qendroi per 268 dite ne koma me infeksion dhe temperature te larte. Sot kur vdiq ne ora 07.00 te mengjesit ishte 16 kile. Ne kete moment policia eshte duke sulmuar spitalin qe ai dergjej prej kaq kohesh dhe gjate ketyre sulmeve nje protestues tjeter u godit ne koke. Ne keto momente eshte ne gjendje te pandergjegjshme . Familja nuk pati kohe as te mbante zine e femijes se tyre. Ji ne dijeni te cmendurise se policise ne Turqi. Bej te mundur qe ta njohin te tere Diktatorin !
Azeri; ”Berkin Elvan 14 yaşında 1 İyun tarixində 850 qramlıq qaz kapsulasıyla vuruldu. Aksiyada deyildi, çörək almağa getmişdi. 268 gün ərzində infeksiya və yüksək tempraturla mübarizə apararaq komada qaldı. Bugün səhər saat 7:00 radəllərində vəfat etdiyində 16 kiloydu. Bugünə qədər yatdığı xəstəxanaya polis müdaxilə edir və bu müdaxilə əsnasında bir nəfər də başından vurulub. İndi şüuru bağlıdır. Ailəsinin, uşaqlarının yasını tutmağa fürsəti olmadı. Türkiyədəki polis vəhşiliyindən xəbərdar ol. Diktatoru hər kəsin tanımağına kömək elə.”
Japan 14歳のベルキン・エルヴァン(#BerkinElvan)君が 頭に、6月1日に850グラムの催涙弾で撃たれました。彼は抗議者じゃなくてパンを買いに行く途中でした。彼は268日間に68日間感染症や高熱と戦っい ながら昏睡状態にいました。今日午前7時に亡くなった時16キロでした。今警察はこんな間に入院された病院に攻撃していて、他の抗議者も頭に催涙弾で撃た れました。撃たれた抗議者は今、意識不明です。家族に自分の子供を追悼する時間はありませんでした。トルコの警察暴力のことしろ!独裁者がみんなに知られ るようにせよ!

Polska: Dnia 14 czerwca, czternastoletni Berkin Elvan został trafiony przez kapsułkę gazu łzawiącego, strzelała policja. Na rynku pojawił się przypadkowo, nie był protestującym, chciał kupić chleb. Przez 268 dni przebywał w śpiączce, walczac o życie, starając się zwalczyć zakażenie i wysoka gorączkę. Zmarł dzisiaj o godzinie 7:00, ważył zaledwie 16 kilogramów.Obecnie w Stambule, policja atakuje ludzi, którzy protestują w szpitalu, gdzie zmarł Berkin. Jeden z działacz został ranny w głowę podczas ataku, jest obecnie nieprzytomny. Rodzina nie miała czasu by opłakiwać swoje dziecko. Bądź swiadomy przemocy policji w Turcji. Niech każdy dowie się o dyktatorze !For Croatia, Serbis & Bosnia 14-ogodišnji Berkin Elvan pogođen je 16. lipnja kanisterom za benzin težine 850 grama. Nije bio prosvjednik nego je išao na tržnicu kupiti kruh. Bio je u komi 268 dana, pokušavajući preživjeti infekcije i visoku temperaturu. Preminuo je danas u 7.00, težeći samo 16 kilograma. Trenutačno policija napada bolnicu u kojoj je bio smješten te je još jedan prosvjednik pogođen u glavu za vrijeme napada. Trenutačno je bez svijesti. Obitelj preminuloga nije imala vremena za oplakivanje zbog početka policijskog napada na bolnicu. Postanite svjesni policijskog nasilja u Turskoj. Recite svima za diktatora.


original: http://fakfukfon.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/how-berkin-elvan-was-killed-english-spanish-french-german-catalan/

Posted in AKP, police, Protests, Turkey | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Full Ban on Social Media: Turkey reaches out for gold in Censor’olympics

Recently in an article, Gigi Alford wrote “Russia goes for gold in internet regulation,” and I was going to suggest that Turkey is a close runner-up. However Erdoğan made a comment that raised the hopes of “censorists” in Turkey for the top place in the Censor’Olympics – Russia being the biggest competition. In the past few weeks, we have suffered the adoption into law of two major draconian bills that allow government censorship and surveillance on society. But recent remarks by Erdoğan go well beyond that, talking of blanket censorship.
Already Turkey is a country of heavy regulations regarding expression of opinion, with surveillance mechanisms profiling and labeling citizens according to their ethnic, religious, and political backgrounds. However, as Erdoğan has revealed his true intentions, apparently there will be no more need for profiling and labeling people. Perhaps after an initial trial of a few weeks, the results were too scary; perhaps there was actually a great majority of the country who are discontented with the government and the only way to stop this discontent from spreading would be to shut down the Internet.

In a country that was declared “partly free” even before the Occupy Gezi protests of last year, with the new regulations, implementations, and intentions of the government, it seems as if Turkey will make it to the “not free” list and take the gold medal in the Censor’Olympics!

Here are Erdoğan’s own words regarding social media from last night’s TV interview where he declared his intentions to ban all social media platforms in the aftermath of local elections on March 30th, when mass protests are expected to take place and national intelligence bodies are reported to have already allowed permissions to declare martial law in case of widely spread mass protests in the country under the code name “rise up”:

“We are determined on this subject. We will not leave this nation at the mercy of YouTube and Facebook and other kinds [of social media]. We will take the necessary steps in the strongest way. That includes banning them. Because these corporations/institutions encourage all kinds of immorality, spying, and espionage in order to keep making profits. There are no limits [on social media]; there can not be an understanding of freedom in an unlimited sense. These people exist in all state institutions as well, but our initial step is to remove them from their administrative boards, because once they are gone the process will go smoothly to lower levels. Afterwards, the true meaning of fear will hold them captive! Then they will start wondering where they will flee to. When their leaders are gone, they will all feel the fear…”

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Freedom of Assembly on Hold in Turkey



During the summer Turkey became famous for dawn raids on peaceful protests and sit-ins. Now, in a dawn operation, the AKP has passed another bill to prevent any future mass protests like Gezi Park. The “democratization package” bill will allow parties to run campaigns in languages other than Turkish and minor parties to get state funds if they pass a 3% threshold in elections. Yet the limitations it is imposing are great.

According to the new bill, anyone willing to organize a protest rally will need to consult with mayors, political parties, unions and syndicates, and then the local governor at the highest level will decide on the location and direction of the rally in the light of these consultations. Prior to the protest, the locations will be declared by the governor on local newspapers and websites. The new bill only allows protests to take place before sunset and all protests that do not disperse after sunset would be declared illegal.

While the government might want to prevent any future mass protests, this means that the right to assembly is on hold, since especially in wintertime, sunset is long before people get off from work. The limitation only allows weekends for protests to be organized, and then only at the place where the local governor (part of the apparatus of the Prime Minister) allows.

The organizing committee of the protests now “must” have a commissioner from the government body. And according to the new bill, police will be obligated to make visual recordings of protests and determine the identity of those attending. Although the bill states that this is only for security purposes, to find suspects in case of a crime, in a country where there is official profiling of citizens based on ethnicity, linguistic background, religious belief, and city of origin, this would only serve to further advance the surveillance state on the street after the infamous censorship bill and secret service bill.

The new bill also states that the moment a protest starts getting out of hand, the organizing committee will have to make a decision to disperse the crowds and notify the police chief of that decision. Again, the responsibility is placed on the organizing committee to declare to the crowd that the protest is over and that everyone should disperse.

In case the committee fails to carry out this “responsibility,” the police chief will notify the governor and give immediate orders – not in writing – to disperse the crowds. It is no secret what methods will be used to disperse them. This is yet another violation of human rights in Turkey.

Posted in AKP, Censorship, Europeanization, police, Protests, Surveillance State, Turkey | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Turkish Way of Avoiding Censorship

Prime Minister Erdoğan, in his weekly address to his group in Parliament, defended the bills expanding censorship and surveillance by referring to the recently released tapes of phone conversations that revealed corruption at extreme levels. The scandalous phone conversation between the Prime Minister and his son can be accessed here (http://erdogansdollars.blogspot.com.tr/).

Minutes after the phone conversation was uploaded on YouTube, people started downloading the video, and if they were unable to do that they started recording the voice on their phones. Only a few hours later, the original video was censored and in the morning it was not possible to browse to the exact URL of the tape.

The people who downloaded the video from YouTube, started uploading from different usernames and to other platforms as well. While the government was busy trying to accomplish Mission Impossible and censor the leaked phone conversation, people have found a new way of getting around censorship. Throughout the day, people have reported from all over the city that their cab driver put on an audio CD of the phone conversation when they took a cab, that some old gentleman on the bus shouted out “this is my debt to fellow citizens!” and turned on loudspeakers to broadcast the downloaded video, or that a lady on the ferry asked for the attention of all citizens who cared about the taxes they pay for the state’s services and used her phone’s loudspeakers to let everyone listen.

Before 24 hours had passed after the video was uploaded, 2.5 million people had viewed the original video and millions of others saw duplicates. And after work shifts at 7 p.m., at least 10 cities had mass protests calling for Erdoğan to resign. Police attacked with all the hatred they had towards peaceful protests, yet more and more people joined in. The Police may be the protector of the government, yet the people are furious to see one man calling his son to “melt the wealth” to avoid arrest, while citizens at home turn heaters down a bit more so they don’t spend everything they earn to pay the gas bill. Once this information is out there, there is absolutely no way of going back, as the people will find a way to spread this information.

When censorship aims for blanket coverage of information, other ways of spreading it emerge. People have reverted to Samizdat-style information sharing via Bluetooth on public transport, e-mail attachments, cassettes, and CDs. Censorship is a lost cause to begin with and in the end only helps the content reach more people.

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Martial Law in Istanbul Centrum

Istanbul Police has asked the 27th penal court of peace for permission of unlimited police check on individuals, documents and all kinds of vehicles for a month, until 20th of March, which is similar to the recently permitted application in Ankara centrum that is named as Martial Law. According to the permission, police is authorized to stop anyone and check their personal belongings and all kinds of documents as well as search their vehicles. Currently it is found out that this is the only declaration of Martial Law in Istanbul but it is not certain whether other districts are under this treatment either, according to OdaTV.

The timing of the declaration of Martial Law is “significant” as the government would put it. There will be local elections on 30th of March and this kind of an application might be aiming at silencing any uprising opposition voices or critical individuals. It is also a pure violation of individuals’ basic rights and liberties in many aspects, first of all being their privacy.

The resentful feelings after this application will surely discourage more people to vote for the governing AKP, and the local elections will have the effect of “vote of confidence” on AKP. Prime Minister Erdoğan declared that although in last elections AKP received 50% of the votes, in these elections he will consider 38.8% as success; however police’s treatment of peaceful protests and individuals on streets might cost him more votes.

On the other hand there are various controversial laws being passed in parliament in a hurry to cover up for all the allegations regarding the corruption of government ministers and there are protests on a weekly basis in Taksim square.

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Understanding Corruption and Scandal in Turkish

Corruption in Turkey is a strange matter. The understanding of a corrupt person is very much limited to the person’s stand and rhetoric. When one manages to shout loud enough and keep repeating himself so that masses cheer him, he is considered to be a successful politician. The logic behind this perception is perhaps hidden also in the etymological roots of the word corruption as well as political culture being so corrupt, rising on the ashes of all the Byzantine games.

Historically the number of people questioning the corrupt political authority has always been very limited and for centuries no one dared to challenge this “tradition” with popular support. When any politician claimed to fight corruption, he ended up getting corrupted within the system as it is almost impossible to avoid it. So it came to be understood that any elected politician would one way or another get corrupted, the people just had to find a person who feels like drowning in money and power so he wouldn’t need any more. Until that point, the basic evaluation of the society is whether the corrupted politician is in service to the country or not.

The word corruption

“Yolsuzluk” stands for corruption in Turkish. The root of the word being “yol” (meaning road/path) and -suz being the negative suffix meaning “without a road”. In this fashion, if one is to consider prime minister Erdoğan’s rhetoric regarding corruption scandal and how he keeps answering the questions about corruption investigations saying “But we have built roads and high ways”, it is perhaps easier to understand why he can not perceive that this is wrong in the modern understanding.

Culturally, there is more explanation to this kind of understanding with several proverbs even; the strongest one of which would be “that who carries honey will lick his finger” (and have a share of the honey). Millions of people growing up getting taught such proverbs end up approving and not getting surprised with corruption. The evaluation of a politician lies in charismatic and moral sense (moral being conservative social values and not political ethics).

What constitutes a scandal?

Recently I was talking to a friend of mine who said “do you remember the scandals in Italy recent years?” upon which I thought of all the scandals Berlusconi and the Catholic Church has unsuccessfully tried to hide and was revealed with all the shame before everyone’s eyes. Actually what my friend apparently meant was the resignations upon such incidents; the perception that resigning from a post being considered as scandal and not the event that caused it.

Similarly, in the Turkish political culture, resignation is not valued highly. If any political leader is to resign, majority of the people in the country consider this as a defeat for him, and opponents note this down as a win. Unfortunately the virtue of resignation is not considered to be a high manner. For that reason when millions call for Prime Minister Erdoğan to resign, his political base takes this as a sign of coup against national will; as no matter he does they consider him to do for his nation. I even had to survive through a few people’s rationalization of corruption and violence against peaceful protests saying “but he did it for his nation”.

In this logic, anything can be justified as the opponents are never seen as equal human beings and the leadership is in crisis only when he resigns. There is no understanding of “clean politics” in Turkey as people do not expect opposition to be free of corrupt leaders either and as long as state has minimal services available for majority, they would not call for resignation.What is needed in Turkey is spread of the understanding of post-modern state values and a change in political culture. The young experts should be empowered to speak up to old traditional perceptions of corruption and scandal; and to say out loud that it is not okey to basically let a politician expand his influence and make profits out of a state duty.

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