Posted on Nov 3, 2016 by Caleb Chen

WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube blocked in Turkey following arrest of pro-Kurdish political party HDP leaders

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Social media sites Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube and messaging service Whatsapp are currently being blocked across Turkey according to an incident report by Turkish Internet watchdog organization Turkey Blocks. Originally, Turkey was only blocking the original trifecta of social media sites: Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube.

However, Turkey Blocks has since confirmed that WhatsApp is also currently being blocked. This is the first time that Turkey’s government has blocked WhatsApp.

Social media services blocked in Turkey amid ongoing political unrest

The social media block lines up with an operation currently ongoing by the Turkish government to arrest pro-Kurdish political party members from the HDP headquarters in Ankara. Arrested members thus far include the co-leaders of the HDP, Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag. The incident report reveals that the blocks started around 1:20 AM local time Friday morning. As with the previous shutdowns of social media services (it’s happened several times this year), the block is being enforced by the increasingly restrictive country’s few Internet service providers (ISPs). The throttling and bans start at the largest ISP, TTnet, which covers more urban areas, and hasn’t reached some smaller ISPs such as Uydunet, yet. Those that are able to access social media have been keeping the world updated on the unfolding events. There is even Periscope footage from the arrests at HDP headquarters in Ankara. This shutdown of certain parts of the Internet is technically legal in Turkey. President Erdogan is using a law that allows the President to use the Internet’s kill switch however he or she wants during an “emergency situation.”

Amid the ongoing “emergency situation,” there are reports that the Turkish army is moving towards the Iraqi border and also that additional warrants will be served on all HDP parliament members. The night is still ongoing and it is possible that Turkish ISPs will attempt to block or throttle traffic to other social media services, as well.

About Caleb Chen

Caleb Chen is a digital currency and privacy advocate who believes we must #KeepOurNetFree, preferably through decentralization. Caleb holds a Master's in Digital Currency from the University of Nicosia as well as a Bachelor's from the University of Virginia. He feels that the world is moving towards a better tomorrow, bit by bit by Bitcoin.

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  1. Carl

    Unblocking is easy. Erdogan is trying and failing so hard.

    2 years ago