Operation “Peace” in Istanbul brings 14.500 police to streets

Istanbul Metropolitan Police Chief Selami Altınok declared the Operation Peace which includes 14.500 policemen from anti-terrorism squads, smuggling and organized crime combat troops, security forces, traffic police, narcotic desk. The operation encompassed 39 districts and counties in Istanbul and took place over the weekend.

Helicopters accompanied the police troops that carried out raids, random ID checks, traffic check point controls, alcohol controls and lasted throughout the night on Saturday.

The chief of police Altınok declared that initially he can name 40 wanted people who have been detained but more detailed numbers to be available soon.

The citizens on the streets of Istanbul get subjected to random ID controls by police forces more than often and such massive operations with participation of thousands of policemen add up on the discomfort level. Where these operations or random controls are carried out at the arbitrary pleasure of those in charge, it turns into a machinery of intimidation and harassment.


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Extended Surveillance Bill in Turkey: Legal but not Lawful

2009 Protest against Internet Censorship Bill 5651 Revisions

Just days after Turkey hosted thousands of delegates from around the world for Internet Governance Forum in Istanbul and boasted about policing and pressuring internet freedoms in the country, a law has been passed in urgency, almost like escaping from fire. The new law allows Telecommunications Directorate (TIB) -which consists mainly of former spies and was talked of being disbanded to be made an office under national secret service- to carry out surveillance operations and blocking access to websites without court order. The law now includes the clauses that were rejected by President Gül when the last update was made in February 2014.

The bill came at a surprise moment when it was not being talked of in media and was definitely not debated at all. Just days before it got passed at 4 am, there was criticism of Turkish approach to digital rights and liberties, and while activists were expecting a loosening of censorship, surveillance and profiling activities of the government and secret service, it just happened to get even worse.

There has been named concerns and worries by an anonymous EU diplomat based in Ankara, and the Turkish EU minister has criticized him/her saying “this is not that person’s business”. Minister continued his remarks saying “this is only in times of national security, not on a regular basis”, referring to the clause of the new bill that states “this bill can be applied in matters related to national security, public order and prevention of crimes” yet failed to address what consists of national security breach in exactitude. One can remember 2013 Gezi Uprising and how it got labeled as a coup attempt and activists have been declared as traitors, and millions who supported the uprising as terrorists.

From Miners to Censorship

The reform package was started being drafted upon the death of 302 miners in a terrible mining tragedy, due to lack of security precautions; yet the outcome of the draft bill came to address censorship, surveillance and profiling cases. President Erdoğan approved the bill on the 34th anniversary of 1980 September 12 military coup, on Friday; thus initiating a new level of obstacle against rights and liberties.

Raiding of the TIB

TIB was raided last february and several top managers had been replaced after some phone conversations were leaked on the internet revealing the biggest corruption scandal in history regarding the Turkish government. Now the new team will probably be using the “server-ville” facilities just nearby the capital city where all telecommunications data is being stored. When combined with the plans to install NetClean and Procera software in all telecommunications spine of the country, this new bill just allows Turkish secret service to become a digital gestapo. It may be legal to carry out such actions in Turkey, but for sure it is not lawful.

Russian Style Tight Control

Turkey now prepares for yet another grip around digital rights and freedoms. In October there will be a new bill in the parliament which will address internet and press publishers. The new law is much like the Russian bloggers’ bill, requiring all digitally published content creators to reveal their names, addresses and contact details on the website, make all content available for at least a year without the possibility of deletion, and comply with already tightened media laws in the country. The new bill is set to target citizen journalism platforms mainly, including the bloggers.

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Backwards March Against Backlash in Democracy in Turkey

On the 34th anniversary of the September 12th 1980 military coup, young liberal Turkish activists organized a protest rally against the backlash in democratic values and democratization of the country. They got together in Taksim’s Galatasaray Square, wore their white t-shirts on which were printed “no u turn” signs, read out a press statement against the undemocratic implementation of laws in the country and started their march. Unlike all protest rallies beforehand, they were walking backwards as a sign of the Turkish democracy going the same way.

Only a few steps behind them were located riot police and water cannon, aka TOMA and the group had to divert their path in order not to crash them, but this seemed like another significant coincidence. Members of “Democracy Watch” and “Law, Liberty, Tolerance” foundations and voluntary activists have participated in the protest and reminded of the initial steps taken against the coup legacy, back in 2010 constitutional reform referenda.

The Press Statement reads as follows:

“We have just observed yet another anniversary of the September 12th military coup which has had a significant role in our political and democratic lives and continues to be a bleeding wound. The system that has replaced the rule of law with law of the powerful, has installed a network of bans and prohibitions on individual and social liberties even after the 34 years. In the recent years, we have also observed quite a few positive steps in terms of our democracy and freedoms. One of them was the constitutional reform referenda on September 12th 2010. Even though we had imagined this referenda to be a beginning, it was forgotten before even the end of the year. The militaristic constitution of 1980 continues to be an obstacle in the face of civilian thinking and liberties. Universities continue to graduate uniform persons with the help of Higher Authority for Education. The legal institutions which are supposed to spread justice, get shaped with power-relations and interest struggles. The media which should be independent and unbiased revolve around interest relations. Our people and cities turn paler just like the democratic promises of the government. In Turkey, which has a ranking of 154 in press freedom, 90 in human development index and 88 in international democratic index, all these are announced as “New Turkey”. We the youth of Turkey who wish to see our liberties and democracy among the level of developed countries, refuse to act as three monkeys against all these going on. We do not approve of the backlash in democracy’s basic principles such as basic rights and freedoms, separation of powers. Yet, in order to protest against the backlash and backwardness we have been experiencing as a society and country, we will march backwards. We hereby set a note in history in terms of our values and principles by taking a step back, and continue to walk towards a much brighter future for Turkey.”


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Digital Agenda in Istanbul: #IGF2014, Ungovernance Forum and Pirates’ ThinkTwice2

September 2014 has brought the digital focus of the world on Istanbul alongside many people involved in the liberation of Internet and those trying to turn it into a secured money making machine. Internet Governance Forum is what all this agenda revolves around in fact. Months ago when announcement for applications to present panels during the IGF 2014 were made, many digital rights & liberties advocates and activists applied to be there to make their voices heard. Lest, the controversies might have begun then… The “multistakeholder” wording might just be not the right word perhaps.

The initial irony of having the IGF in Istanbul is one thing, and not letting digital rights activists to present their views just adds to the pile of controversies that filled the IGF week. The opening remarks have been made by the host country Turkey’s state representatives with the participation of Istanbul governor and ministers. Basically a lot of number bombardment took place every time ministers or Turkish bureaucrats have taken the microphone, giving detailed numbers regarding internet usage in Turkey without ever mentioning the applications regarding freedom of speech or right to acquire information; however abundantly mentioning cyber-security, alas not in the way I would like to hear. In the end, the welcoming remarks ended up being a bad defense of censorship and surveillance and right after “data” has been likened to “petroleum of future”, cyberwarfare and cyber armies have been mentioned.

Multiplification of the profit

A long echoing of multistakeholders references began after Turkish minister opened the floor and whoever took the stage, continued simply in explaining multiplification of the same point of view that internet is about economy and that even though surveillance and censorship is present as mechanisms of interference with the market that internet should be turned into a money making “sector” rather than staying free and be a platform of liberal values. Of course there were other exceptional approaches towards the end when much fewer people remained in the main hall; for example Neelie Kroes’ speech on keeping the internet free and open was inspiring. And Ivo Ivanovski’s remarks on the extended approach to internet was remarkable as well. Ivanovski stated the lack of ministerial representation except for the IT and telecom ministers from various countries at the event.

Ivanovski was complaining that there were not enough participation from other legs of state apparatus, however the ones that were there already represented the interests and aspirations of state ideology perfectly fine in my opinion. Most state representatives focused more and more on regulating the internet and interfering with the free atmosphere. Cyber security seems to have opened great doors for so many people as the amount of energy and funding being pooled in this “sector” seems to be ever-growing and the idea of having a free & secure internet seems to bring an image of “a policeman at every doorstep” to so many people’s minds. In my opinion, the intentions to regulate internet at such high levels is equal to interventionist principles, an attitude which has crippled many countries’ economies in the past.

Problem of regulating the Internet

When it comes to regulating the internet, I like what Jan Kleijssen from the Council of Europe said: “It’s not the internet that has to be regulated, it’s the behaviour of the governments concerning freedoms and liberties”. Internet as I see it should be less government, and definitely more liberty. The advocates of more security fail to realize that by assigning a cyber-security officer at each connection point is a useless and wasteful investment which does not guarantee anything more than annoyance, disturbance and loss of quality in online services.

As the “kids” at IGF have put it wisely, the adults should be responsible for their safety and not act in paranoid and cover up the whole world with cotton walls in order to protect the youth from the world. By being responsible the children at IGF referred to themselves being granted opportunities to learn what is bad content and to protect themselves from harmful people on the internet, and how to cope with crisis situations. Yet, obviously the point of view to put up walls and protect societies from information and knowledge seems to be a much more shared view among those who have more say in decision making phase of internet governance.

While the local rights and liberties advocates and activists have not been granted panel presence as much as governmental or corporate representatives, there have been some rights based discussions and forums during the IGF. Even though the Turkish authorities repeatedly stated that they have not been involved in turning down the local NGOs applications, it started to seem suspicious especially when one could hear the [Turkish] security guards at the entrance wholeheartedly trying to discourage civilian participation to the IGF in order to be able to comment live on the panel presentations.

Geo-centric focus?

In the limited number of panels on digital rights and human rights on the internet, lots of discussions have taken place on access to internet, freedom of the internet and net neutrality alongside many other important and crucial topics. While geographically participants have seemed to been rather divided, the geo-centric approaches to rights and liberties for sure will be overcome by further discussion and participation to such international conferences. A global approach to cosmopolitan understanding of the internet is a crucial matter for rights based usage of internet in a an atmosphere of liberty.

Rapidly growing countries and censorship

Among the things that have come to my attention and I believe should be listed are Brazil’s “Internet Bill of Rights” in 2014, which is crucial to have especially before IGF2015. However, when listening to participants from Brazil, I could not help but draw conclusions from the fact that there is invisible censorship in Brazil, just like India, Turkey and many other rapidly developing countries in the G20. The similarities seemed dire, especially when thinking the state representatives from these countries focusing on keeping their relative societies in “line” and protecting citizens from the internet!

What about corruption?

When an individual thinks of being protected, s/he should also consider asking “from what”. As it so coincidentally happens, many of the countries that are fervent advocates of censorship on the internet, also happen to be countries where political elite has come to be talked of with people guilty of or related to corruption cases. This controversy raises suspicion when one considers why a government that is popularly voted by the people of a country would indulge in such actions if there is nothing to hide! Or, if a state has nothing to hide from her citizens, why is there problems with transparency regarding taxpayers’ money when it comes to governments using the funds without proper authorization.

Transparency reports from several international corporations show that national governments turn to content removal requests when censoring content is not enough to stop spreading of certain content. Censorship through URL blocking and applying set-backs in broadband capacity may be working on a national basis, however when scandalous content gets leaked on a website and can be copied and redistributed by someone outside the national legislation, this poses a threat to a government that tries to preserve itself from accusations of corruption.

Alternative Internet Ungovernance Forum

As many digital rights and liberties activists and NGOs have been turned down in presenting their panels at the IGF, there has taken place a parallel forum in Istanbul at Bilgi University’s Santral Campus. Alternative Informatics Society has called for participation to UGF on the last two days of IGF. When compared, one could see that while IGF was a place for lobbying and secretive private meetings among people that rarely get together physically in the same place, UGF has been the place where one could actually see a forum laying out, with rooms filled with audience.

On the other hand, I believe that boycotting the IGF is not a good idea; mainly because the NGOs and rights activists need to make their voices heard rather than keeping distant to the people who must hear them. Even though I can understand the disappointment and discouragement in some organizations and activists, I believe especially they should have been present in the first three days of the IGF, if they have not.

Yet, it was a great opportunity to listen to the panels at UGF, as they have been very vibrant, informative and inspiring… Especially for the fact that the local activist networks have been able to present themselves and the situation in Turkey in a passionate manner and that truly has been captivating for our friends from around the world. For that reason, I believe actually UGFs could start being incorporated into IGF weeks in wherever they take place from now on, if IGF boards are not willing to accept local activist networks’ and rights advocates’ proposals to present the local situation in global context.

One last comment about UGF must be on the unfortunate disconnection of Edward Snowden who was supposed to give the closing remarks online to the audience in Istanbul, but could not make it due to technical problems on his side, and sent a written statement to UGF participants.




Thank you for inviting me to speak to you today. I apologize for not being able to speak to you by video conference. Last-minute technical problems have made that method of communication impossible.

I’d like to take this opportunity, before an audience of activists, academics and journalists in Istanbul to discuss the relationship between censorship and surveillance, which are in many ways two sides of the same coin. The Turkish people are subject to both of these technically assisted forms of state manipulation, although the former has received far more attention than the latter.

When governments censor their citizens’ access the Internet, they not only trample on basic human rights, but they also make it much easier for foreign governments to gain access to those domestic communications. For censorship equipment to be able to function, domestic traffic must flow through it. This equipment is a natural target for nation-state intelligence agencies. If they can hack into and compromise the censorship equipment, they get access to all of the communications that flow through it. It only takes one security flaw or an intentionally placed backdoor in a censorship device to transform it from a tool of domestic oppression to a trojan horse for foreign government surveillance.

In the past few years, several governments have started to openly question their reliance on foreign-made communications technology, whether 4G telephone network equipment made by Huawei, or Internet switches made by Cisco. The national security arguments against foreign-made networking technology apply equally to foreign-made censorship technology. When governments install censorship equipment at the core of their national communications networks, how can they be sure that they’re not also inviting in a foreign intelligence service?

In an ideal world, governments would respect the free speech rights of their citizens enough to not filter their Internet communications. Sadly, we do not yet live in that world. Perhaps in time, governments will realize that the serious cybersecurity and foreign-surveillance threats posed by censorship equipment outweigh whatever supposed benefits of national stability and control that they bring.

To all of those present who struggled in Gezi Park, to those who struggle at the Ungovernance Forum today, thank you for your support and your solidarity. You have my support and solidarity. — Erward Snowden https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/assets/es-statement-ungovernance-forum-sept-5.pdf

Instead of Snowden, a surprise guest was to give a speech and connection was being established. When prior to the beginning of the closing speech, connection was being tried and the audience briefly heard who was coming up, it was hard to detect from one dry “hello”. When the screen was later turned on, to everyone’s surprise it was the Wikileaks chief, Julian Assange himself speaking in front of a page of information on NATO documents.

Assange was quite knowledgable about Turkey’s situation and talked on the uses of censorship and surveillance mechanisms in order to preserve the power of the political elite in the country, as well as mentioning the dirty alliances between nation-states to keep the international balance of power among eachother. Assange’s speech was significant in the way that it explained how many problems we see locally and have been focused on for so long to lose sight in global context has actually international counterparts and is in fact part of the world.

Pirate Parties International

Pirates in Istanbul

Living in the land of censorship, surveillance and lack of freedom of expression and right to acquire information, we have been utterly pleased to have this week of opportunities to meet our international counterparts as well as important decision makers who seemed to support us at least in one way or another. But the most important participation for me this week came from the Pirate Parties International, that organized a conference in Istanbul under the title of ThinkTwice2. Dozens of Pirates from various countries have had the chance to meet at the crossroads of continents for the first time, almost like an atmosphere reminding us of a micro-International.

ThinkTwice2 was host to internationally known pirates such as Julia Reda (Pirate Party Germany MEP) and Birgitta Jonsdottir (Pirate Party Iceland MP) alongside many representatives from various other countries. Throughout the week there has come and gone other pirates and we have had the chance to hold our first international meeting in Istanbul with the participation of local pirates. Many issues have been talked of, and we have had a lot of inspiration and encouragement regarding the future of combat against censorship, surveillance, bans, copyright, and of course the human rights abuses in the country, especially in terms of digital rights and liberties.

Surveillance in Turkey takes another step right after IGF

As the week of IGF meetings have passed and the international representatives went back home, Turkish government announced the intentions to pass yet another surveillance bill, bringing everyone’s browsing and internet habits data into the hands of the telecommunications directorate (TIB), which is directly linked to prime minister. New bill expands the scope of influence by TIB which will be profiling all citizens’ digital identities -going even beyond mass surveillance- and will have the authority to block access to any website without a court order.

As the new bill suggests, prime minister of Turkey will have the authority to switch off internet when need be -facing a threat to national security or disturbance in public order. However exaggerated this statement might seem, the lack of definition of “threat to national security” gives the government to declare any kind of incident as such. If one is to remember president Erdoğan’s declaration of Gezi Park activists as coup plotters, anyone might get declared a digital terrorist and internet will not be an available means of communication in such a case. Moreover, what constitutes “disturbance to public order” in Turkey might actually be any kind of minor protest even, as this now has turned into a country where people are ordered to protest only at a “designated protest area in the middle of heavily surveilled and police secured space”.

The discussions regarding a new law were raised right after the SOMA mining tragedy in May 2014 when 302 miners died in a terrible “accident” due to lack of security measures not taken by mining company that was given reports of quality for work place safety standards. The new bill ended up focusing on suppressing freedom of speech, which has long been seen as a problem by the government of Turkey and there had been declarations of broadcast bans right after any fiasco that the government has indulged in. The new bill as an update to censorship and surveillance bills, will enable the government with furthering of blanket bans as well as profiling of all citizens in terms of ethnic, religious, sexual, political, etc identities or affiliations.

Yet, this is the government that has started the IGF talking about the importance of protecting citizens from freedom of speech, and raised the bar in shamelessly defending censorship and surveillance. As that would not be enough to make the whole country laughing stock of the world with this approach, at the news hour, media -99.9% of which has a kind of affiliation with the government- has showed the world’s support for Turkey’s internet policies, as they had come to Turkey to show solidarity. If only we the human rights advocates and rights and liberties activists had the same kind of means and solidarity to support eachother in globally standing against state interventions to human rights principles.

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Internet Governance Forum 2014 Starts in Istanbul: #IGF14

After spending a few days of quality time with international Pirates, finally Internet Governance Forum begins in Istanbul. It is ironic to have sessions on digital rights and internet freedoms in a country where these are respected very little. But this makes the occasion even more appropriate, as in general such events are held as far away as possible from the source of a problem. Hopefully this week many global citizens will talk more on digital rights and liberties as well as respect for basic human rights, and moreover have more insight regarding the situation in Turkey.

As for myself, I will be there as a Pirate, a Federalist, a Europhile and a concerned global citizen.

Also for those from the IGF audience who might see this post, the extended version of this piece on “Digitocide” was going to be my presentation if it were accepted.

Have a nice Internet Governance Forum and Ungovernance Forum…




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Istanbul police starts massive operation with 1.000 cops

A massive operation has started in Istanbul with the participation of a thousand policemen consisting of special-ops, riot police and sweeneys. In two sub-regions in Esenler, streets have been blocked and all citizens are subjected to ID-controls, cars are being checked and cafes and internet cafes are being raided. Newspapers report that police helicopters are in support position in the air.

The original source of the operation is cited to be narcotics department. However as the operation expands, others suspected of different “crimes” also get police treatment.

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Russia Invades Ukraine?


After invasion and annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and forcing the region to join into Russian lands, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ambitions were nowhere to stop at the borders of the rest of an internationally recognized sovereign state, Ukraine. Any realist would deduce from the earlier Russian aggression that it would not stop with Crimea only. Nor would the humanitarian aid supplied by Moscow be for the bettering of anything on the Ukranian side.

After the popularly supported street protests reached a peak in Kiev’s famous Euromaidan protests, Yanukovich had to step down and due to the upheaval in the country, Russian forces in Crimea had intervened and “secured” the peninsula. It was obvious that the “security” ambitions would not stop at the borders of the newly annexed region, Crimea and would spread to other prosperous/productive regions of Ukraine.

In several districts and cities there had been pro-Russian uprisings demanding the same fate as Crimea did. Even though what happened in the part of formerly Ukranian peninsula is against the international laws and there was a Budapest memorandum to guarantee the integrity of Ukranian lands, this action carried out with only economic sanctions that did not stop Russian aggression.

European far right’s involvement was observed on both sides of the conflict; one “occidentalist” fraction supporting Ukraine’s future in the EU in a Brussels-focused atmosphere, and a “Duginist” or better “Eurasianist” bloc supporting Russian take-over of whole of Ukraine and spreading of the ideology to other parts of Europe.

After days of deployment of Russian military tools into Ukraine in humanitarian aid trucks, eventually the invasion began with APCs and helicopters according to witnesses and confirmations from ground-based journalists. According to reports, invasion began from the East, namely the pro-Russian Luhansk.

So far comments from several Ukranians have been “we can’t wait for the morning to see the depth of worries from the EU authorities” referring to the softness of EU reaction to Russian aggression and the loss of lives in Ukraine since clashes began.

On the other hand, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has demanded an end to combat and declaration of ceasefire to deploy further humanitarian aid which is being brought by convoys of hundreds of military trucks. Moreover, Russian Authorities also clarify that they are ready to trade with anyone that is ready to cooperate with Russia. According to Russian authorities, these convoys contain power generators, foodstuffs, water, baby’s food, medical supplies and sleeping bags… However Ukrainians suspect of military equipment which is being deployed into their country, after the unlawful annexation of part of their country. Even though after a few hours of troop deployment it stopped, no one can be sure whether this will be the trend in the coming days or not. Or whether Russian military has been testing Western reaction to an all-out-invasion of Ukraine.

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Çevrimdışı Cumhurbaşkanı

(Orjinali AGOS’ta)


Cumhurbaşkanı adayları vaatlerini “yeni yaşam çağrısı”, “vizyon belgesi” ve “seçim bildirgesi” isimleri ile yayınladı ve gördük ki, kim seçilirse seçilsin bizi “offline” bir cumhurbaşkanı bekliyor. Söylemlerden ve vaatlerden anladığımız bu; üç aday için de, İnternet özgürlüklerinin ve kampanyalarını yürüttükleri sosyal ağlardaki ifade özgürlüklerinin önemi yok gibi görünüyor! Hoş daha önce, yine sansürle boğuştuğumuz bir dönemde Abdullah Gül buradan izleyebileceğiniz ABD’deki konuşmasında Türkiye’de sansürün olmadığını söylemişti. Sansür yok muydu, vardı. Peki şimdi? Daha fazla var! Bir zamanlar yasaklı kitap listeleri sayfa sayfa artarken, bugün yasaklı internet siteleri listeleri, internet ortamında kelime bazlı engellemeler çok daha kapsamlı bir sansüre tabi oluyor. Türkiye, sansür ve gözetim yatırımları anlamında dünyaya ilk kez ayak uydurdu. Dijital gözetim ve sansüre belki de daha önce tenezzül edip yeterince yatırım yapılmıyordu; fakat bugün her ikisi için de dünya çapında kötü üne sahip şirketlerle anlaşmalar yapılabiliyor. Tam da toplumsal ve ekonomik ilişkilerin İnternetle iç içe geçtiği bu dönemde…

Takip ettiğimiz kadarıyla adaylardan sadece biri mitinglerinde dijital haklara dair konuştu: “Biz klavyelerin üzerindeki baskıları kaldırdık”. Ne ironiktir ki bunu söyleyen aday, İnternet özgürlüklerini kısıtlamak için harıl harıl çalışan bir partinin genel başkanı, ‘twitter mwitter’ gibi sosyal ağlardan pek hoşlanmayan Erdoğan’dı. Sosyal medya mecralarını “çirkin teknoloji, ahlaksızlık kaynağı” olarak itham eden Erdoğan için kendisinin sosyal medyayı şahsen kullanımıyla ilgili olarak “bunlara ayıracak zamanım yok” yanıtını vermesi, biraz da bu alanda devlet düzeyindeki yakın çevresinden başlamak üzere, eğilimin ne olacağını gösteriyor. İhsanoğlu ise, bazı ekşi sözlük yazarlarıyla buluşmasından sonra şöyle bir tweet yazdı: ”İnternet özgürlüğü, yaşadığımız bilgi çağının en temel özgürlüklerindendir”. Kendisinin, yeni/sosyal medya mecralarını kullandığını gördüğümüz İhsanoğlu, bu konuda çok nitelikli bir değerlendirme yapmasa ve derinlemesine bir yorumda bulunmasa da muğlak bir yaklaşımla konuyu temel özgürlükler kapsamında gördüğünü göstermiştir. Fakat unutulmamalıdır ki halihazırda var olan cumhurbaşkanı Gül de özellikle Mısır gibi ülkelerde internet yasaklarının artışına binaen dijital hakların önemine dair tweetler atarken, sonrasında yeni sansür yasası ve kapsamlı gözetime olanak sağlayan yeni MİT yasasını adeta “jet hızıyla” onaylamıştı. Yani İhsanoğlu için de internete dair özgürlükçü söylemlerde bulunup sosyal medyayı kullanma hamlesi, bu konuda yeterli özeni gösterdiğini tam olarak açık etmemekle birlikte içinde bir tedirginlik de barındırıyor.

Türkiye’de “öteki” grupların ve oluşumların birçoğu, sansürden ve dijital gözetimden çok çekmiştir ve artan düzeyde çekmektedir. İşte bu öteki grupların da temsilcisi olduğunu söyleyen ve bunu gösteren Demirtaş, katıldığı 6 ağustos tarihli CNN Türk’teki programda “internetten film indirdiğini” söyledi. Bildiğiniz üzere, ‘youtube’un kapalı olduğu dönemde Erdoğan siteye girebildiğini söylemiş, siz de girin demişti. Mesele bu değildi, biz zaten giriyorduk ve herhalde cevabını hiç bilemeyeceğimiz “acaba Erdoğan youtube’de ne izliyor?” sorusunu düşünüyorduk. Öte yandan bu samimi televizyon programı sürerken, aynı saatler civarında İhsanoğlu twitter’dan bir düşüncesini daha yayınladı: ”Bilgisayar programı, uygulama yazılımları ve endüstriyel tasarım gibi konular siyasetten daha önemlidir”. Eğer İhsanoğlu bu düşüncesinde samimiyse, geleceğin politik ortamını çok net bir şekilde tahayyül etmiş demektir. Fakat daha önce de belirttiğimiz gibi, aktif kullanım ve konuya dair değerlendirmeleriyle ortaya çıkacak bir samimiyet olacak bu.

Tabandan talep gelmezse..

Demirtaş’ın “yeni yaşam” çağrısında H.David Thoreau’dan ilham alınan “En iyi hükümet en az hükmedendir” cümlesini gördüğümüzde, birkaç madde sonrasında konunun İnternet özgürlüklerine ve hükümetin yurttaşlarına “İnternetle birlikte hükmetmesi” meselesine geleceğini düşündük ama olmadı. Dijital hakların ehemmiyeti henüz yeterince ön plana çıkmamışken, bununla birlikte yüzlerce, binlerce başka mesele ve özellikle de kimlik siyaseti bu kadar baskınlığını korurken, henüz internet hürriyetinin yaygınlaşması ve özgürlükçü politikanın bir parçası olması belki de bu seçimde zaten olamayacaktı. Toplum tabanından daha gür bir sesle ifade özgürlüğü ve fişlemelere karşı tavır olmadığı sürece de belki de adaylardan kapsamlı bir yaklaşım ummak, ana akım basın kuruluşlarının bu konuyu gündeme getirmesini beklemek boşunaydı.

Son olarak dijital kültür bakımından adayların sosyal medyayı kullanımında takip ve karşılıklı iletişim eğilimlerine bakılacak olursa, adaylardan Erdoğan’ın hiç kimseyi takip etmediği ve kimseye yanıt yazmadığı ön plana çıkıyor. Çatı aday İhsanoğlu’nun ise siyasi partilerin liderlerini, hukuki ve siyasi kurumsal hesapları, uluslararası kuruluşları, insan hakları örgütlerini ve eşini takip ettiği, ayrıca zaman zaman takipçileriyle iletişime girdiği görülüyor. Son olarak Demirtaş’ın uzun süredir şahsen twitter kullanıcısı olduğunu göz önünde bulundurarak bine yakın kişiyi takip etmesi hiç de şaşırtıcı değil. Aynı zamanda takip ettiği kişilerle iletişim halinde olan Demirtaş, henüz dijital haklar konusunda yeterince söylemde bulunmasa da en sıkı kullanıcı denebilir. Bunu “DM’den yürümesi” ve internet kültürünün jargonunu yer yer kullanmasıyla da kanıtlamıştı.

İyi niyetli bir düşünceyle toparlamaya çalışırsak eğer, 2015 genel seçimlerinde partilerin yukarıdan belirlediği adaylar değil de konusunda uzman olan “bireyler” milletvekilliği adaylığı için yarışırsa ve seçmen de partiye değil bu vekillere oy verirse, hayatımızda önemli yer tutan ve tutacak olan konularda politika geliştirebilecek temsilcileri buluruz. Hiyerarşik sosyal ve toplumsal yapıların / ilişkilerin çözüldüğü ve yatay düzlemde ağ temelli hareketlerin arttığı bu zamanlarda neden mecliste dijital okuryazarlığı olan vekiller ve dijital hakları savunacak çevrimiçi bir “İnternet özgürlüğü” vekili olmasın?

Afedersiniz çevrimdışı olacağına…



(Şevket Uyanık ile birlikte yazılmıştır)

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Dijital Gettolarda Mahalle Baskısı

(Orjinali AGOS’ta)

Hızlı ve yüksek kalitede iletişim, yaşamlarımıza yenilikler katmaya devam ediyor. Lakin yeniliklerin bir kısmını değerlendirirken kullanıcıların ve toplumların dönüşümlerine de değinmek gerek. İletişim çağının kazanımlarından belki de en alenisi olan bireyselleşmenin toplumsal yansımaları gettolaşmayla birlikte yürüyor. Türkiye’de ‘dijital’ ve ‘politika’ kelimelerinin yan yana gelmeye başladığı geçtiğimiz on yıldan bugüne bakıldığında muhtemelen en öne çıkan kavramlardan biri dijital gettolar ve buna ek olarak dijital gettolarda mahalle baskısı olacaktır.

Yakın zamana kadar internet ve iletişimin yaygınlaşmasıyla yaşanacağını düşündüğümüz ‘dijital aydınlanma ve hoşgörü’ rüyasından uyanıyoruz sanırım. Benzer ilgi alanlarına sahip kişilerin kolaylıkla birbirlerini bulabildiği, tanıştığı ve yaşamsal ilerlemenin sağlandığı bir ortamdan sıyrılan;  adım adım kendinden olmayanlara karşı ortak nefretin birleştiği, gettolaşma ortamına sürüklenen bir dijital kültür peydah oldu. Sosyal medya mecralarının kullanımının katlanarak arttığı son bir yılda dijital kıyım ve dijital linç girişimlerinin yanı sıra bireylerin yürüttüğü bu kendini soyutlama hali dijital gettoları oluşturuyor.

Kendi gündeminin peşinde

Gündemlerin kişiselleştiği bir devirde, ülkenin ücra bir köşesindeki zincirleme kazadansa, kişi kendi geçeceği yolun trafik durumunu daha çok önemsiyor. Kendi gündemini takip ettiği olgusunun bir açıdan gayet anlaşılır; ancak kişiselleşen çevrede kamusallık hissinin gettolaşma gibi tehlikeli bir olguyu da gün yüzüne çıkarabilir. Bu durumu bir trafik haberinden siyasi gündeme dönüştürürsek durumun vehameti daha da ortaya çıkıyor.  Tıpkı sadece kendi kullandığı yoldaki trafik durumunu en üst düzeyde önemseyen kişi gibi, yalnızca kendi görüşünün ya da partisinin haberlerini almayı tercih eden milyonlarca insanla yan yana yaşıyoruz. Gerçekliği kendi algısı üzerinden yaşayan kişiler, yalnızca kendi görüşlerini tasdik edecek gazeteler, haberler, kaynaklar, ve sosyal medya kullanıcılarını takip ediyor.

Basında ve gündelik yaşamda çoğulculuğun sesi alabildiğine kısılmışken, bir arada farklı görüşleri fikirler duymanın yegane mecrası sosyal medya olarak görünse de, kullanıcılar genelde yalnızca kendi fikirlerinin yansımasını duymak istiyor, takip ettikleri kişileri özenle seçiyor ve mümkün olduğunca karşıt görüşlü kişilerle iletişimden sakınıyor. Kendisini takip eden farklı görüşten biri olduğunda gururla hemen engellediğinden bahseden ‘getto sakinleri’, tahammülsüzlüklerini yepyeni bir boyuta taşıyorlar.

Aynı ilgiler değil de aynı nefretler üzerinden örgütlenen getto kullanıcıları, “şu partiyi destekleyenler beni silsin”, “bu olaya katılanlar beni listesinden çıkarsın” şeklinde mesajlarını sıklıkla paylaşıyor; kendi görüşleri dışındaki herhangi bir görüşü duymaya dahi tenezzül etmiyor. Baskın olmak kaygısıyla ortaya çıkan bu saplantının aşılması ancak çoğulcu fikirleri kabullenmekle olacaktır. Kendi fikirlerinin gelişimi için bile “diğer” görüşlere ihtiyacı olduğunun farkında olmayan getto sakinleri hangi görüş, akım ya da taraftan gelirseler gelsinler, dijital kurtarılmış bölgelerinde kendi mahalleleri içinde ‘ötekine’ karşı sırasıyla tahammülsüzlük, önyargı, kin, nefret ve linç eylemlerine girişiyorlar.

Kendisinden başka hiçbir sesi duymayan bir dijital kitle oluştuğunda, bu kitleden başka bir kitlenin olmadığı algısı ortaya çıkar. Bu nedenle birçok kullanıcı özellikle herhangi bir seçimin ardından “şu parti nasıl kazanır anlamıyorum” ya da “bu parti kaybetmesine rağmen nasıl yine de bu kadar oy alır anlamıyorum” gibi serzenişlerde bulunuyorlar. Karşısında durduğu fikri tümden reddeden, hatta kişisel ilişkileri pahasına dijital iletişimini sonlandıran kişiler için bu görüşler var olmamış “gibi” görünüyor. Bütün gerçekliğiyle tüm kişilerin, kimliklerin, görüşlerin ve eğilimlerin varlığını sürdürdüğü dijital dışı dünyaya döndüğünde şoka uğrayan çoğulculuğa kapalı görüşler, kendi içinde baskıcılığını artırarak kendini tatmin etmeye çalışır.

İnternet erişimi olan her bireyin elinde sınırsız bilgi kaynakları varken, dışarıdan bir dayatma olmaksızın kendi algı mecralarını kısıtlamaya kalkışması belki de gündelik yaşamda uğradığı müdahaleler nedeniyle oluyordur. Basit bir açıklama olarak bireyin, devlet, sistem, mekanizma, ataerkillik, mahalle vs. şeklinde açıklanabilecek herhangi bir örgütlü unsur tarafından baskı altında tutulması öne sürülebilir. Fakat biraz daha derinde bir inceleme yapılırsa kendisini gerçekleştirememiş bir etki-tepki meselesinden çok, bilinçli bir tercih olarak tahammülsüzlüğü seçmiş, farklı sesleri düşman bellemiş bir kültür görmek mümkün. Bunun temeline inildiğinde kültürel olarak kamusallık hissinden arınmış bir bencilliğe yönelmiş, çok seslilik karşıtı eğilimlerin yaygınlığı karşımıza çıkıyor.

Dijital atmosferde çoğulculuğa karşı çıkılması bir yandan da geçtiğimiz yüzyılın baskıcı yönetimlerinde yaşananları hatırlatıyor. Sistemli tahammülsüzlük politikasının bir yansıması olarak algı yönetimi araçlarıyla “kandırılmış” bireylerden bahsedilirken, bugün tamamen kişisel tercihlerle kendinden olmayana karşı çevrimiçi duvarlar ören milyonlar, geçen yüzyıla göre çok daha vahim bir tablo sergiliyor. Eserlerinde baskıcılık ve otoriter eğilimleri irdeleyip eleştiren politik teorisyen Hannah Arendt’in dediği gibi “insan değil, insanlar yaşar bu gezegende; dünyanın kanunu zaten çoğulculuk.”

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MİT ‘Dijital Gestapo’ olmaya aday

(Orjinali AGOS’ta)

Korsan Partiden Gürkan Özturan, ‘TİB’in tasfiye edilip görevlerinin MİT’e devredileceği” tartışmalarını Agos’a değerlendirdi.

Gözetim ve fişlemenin her daim başlıca sorunlardan biri olduğu coğrafyamızda, geçen yıllarla birlikte bu konudaki tek değişim, muhtemelen teknolojik olarak daha üstün araçlarla gözetimin yapılması olmuştur. Hatırlanacağı gibi, geçtiğimiz yıl Gezi Parkı protestolarında sosyal medya başta olmak üzere mümkün olan tüm iletişim araçlarını kullanarak insanları sokağa davet edenlerin bir listesi çıkarılmak istenmişti. Başbakanın, Milli İstihbarat Teşkilatı’na (MİT) talimat verdiğini belirtmesinin ardından, böyle bir altyapının mevcut olmadığının basına bildirilmesi de uzun sürmemişti. Aradan geçen bir yılda internet ortamındaki yayınları düzenleyen, sansür temelli 5651 sayılı kanun geldi. MİT yasasında yapılan değişikliklerle gözetim ve fişlemeler olağanlaştırıldı, 17 Aralık sonrası çeşitli kurumların telekulak dinlemeleri yaptığının ortaya çıkmasıyla birlikte baskınlar yapıldı/yapılıyor; velhasıl günden güne artan bir “daha fazla denetim” arzusu var.

TİB neden MİT’e devredilir?

Başbakan, Ordu mitinginde Telekomünikasyon İletişim Başkanlığı’nın (TIB) görevlerini zaten MİT’in de yapabildiğini belirterek, TİB’in kurumsal olarak kapatılacağını ve yetkilerinin de MİT’e devredileceğini haber verdi. Peki neden başkanlığını zaten bir MİT mensubu olan Cemaleddin Çelik’in yürüttüğü TİB kapatılarak yetkileri MİT’e devredilir?

MİT yasası hazırlanırken dünya çapında ve Türkiye’de hürriyetleri savunan sivil toplum kuruluşları çekincelerini dile getirmiş, yasanın bir gözetim devletini oluşturacağını, ileride hem yurttaşlar ve hem de hak ihlalleri dolayısıyla devlet için çok sayıda sorun yaratacağını belirtmişlerdi. Şimdi TİB’in yetkileriyle donatılmış bir süper-güçlü istihbarat teşkilatı olma yolunda olan MİT, son günlerdeki deyimle ‘Dijital Gestapo’ olmaya aday. Kuvvetler ayrılığı ilkesinin önüne konan bir engel olarak tüm yetkileri olabildiğince merkezileştirme eğiliminin bir parçası olan bu tavır, akıllara bu eğilimin diğer devletlerdeki uygulamalarını getiriyor.

NSA skandalının öğrettiği

Edward Snowden’in ortaya çıkardığı NSA dinleme skandalının ardından, internet yönetimi alanında devletlerin hem daha fazla yatırım hem de daha fazla gizlilik planlarıyla paralel değerlendirilebilecek MİT girişimi, dünyadaki gözetim ve fişleme uygulamalarından ayrı düşünülmemelidir. 11 Eylül saldırıları sonrası çıkarılan yasalarla üstün nitelikli gözetim mekanizmaları kurmaya başlayan ABD’de, 2003’ten bu yana binlerce insanın yaşamı, telefonları ve dijital cihazlarındaki kameralar aracılığıyla yasalara aykırı şekilde kayıt altında tutularak taciz edilmişti.

Karşılıklı ifşa riski

TİB kurulmadan önce farklı devlet organlarının yasadışı dinlemeler yürütmüş olması, bir noktada birbirlerini ifşa etmelerine neden olmuştu. İktidarların güvencesinin gizlilik olduğu ortamlarda ise bu vaziyet büyük bir risk demek. Bugün daha da üstün niteliklerle donatılan ve dokunulmaz addedilen yepyeni kurumlar/yapılar ortaya çıkarılırken hatırlanması gereken en önemli husus, bir gün bu kurumların da denetimsizlikle raydan çıkması halinde her türlü hukuk ihlalinin ifşa olacağıdır.

Bireylerin hak ve hürriyetleri kapsamında yer alan, uluslararası hukuk ve anayasa güvencesindeki mahremiyet hakkı ve henüz Türkiye’de devlet tarafından tanınmayan anonimlik hakkına rağmen MİT süper yetkilerle donatılmış bir muhaberat unsuruna dönüşüyor. Yine de devlet büyüklerimizin bireyin ve yurttaşın haklarını hiçbir zaman gözetmediğini söylemek de haksızlık olur. Öyle ki herkesin her hareketinin takip edildiği, her telefon görüşmesinin kayıt altında tutulduğu ve özel yaşamın sistemli bir biçimde ihlal edildiği bir ortamda, güzide bakanlarımızdan Binali Yıldırım “Dinlenilmek istemiyorsanız telefonla konuşmayın” diyerek bizleri uyarmıştı.

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