The government in Turkey has blocked many social media platforms that include Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, YouTube, and others. First, access was restricted for these services by the domestic internet service providers to slow down the connection to all these networks.
This was done for purely political reasons. A member of NATO, the country is trying to crush their third-largest party, the HDP. Many house raids have been carried out and mass arrests have been made. 11 politicians from the HDP have been detained or jailed after mass protests rocked Turkey recently. Orders were initially issued to detain 15 members of the HDP.
Turkey Raids Opposition Political Party Offices
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is Turkey’s President and a close ally of Western powers, has become increasingly authoritarian in recent times. He, however, ordered the raids to be carried out at the HDP headquarters, and also the closing down of social media so that people cannot protest on these platforms. HDP is a pro-Kurdish political party.
Binali Yildirm, who is Turkey’s Prime Minister, did not confirm directly that orders were issued to block the social media but said that “From time to time for security reasons, we can use such measures. These are temporary measures. Once the danger is passed, everything returns to normal,” he told reporters in Istanbul in televised comments”.
Social Media Blocked In Turkey Before Too
Of course, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), YouTube and some other services have been blocked in Turkey before as well. The government has done this before as well for suppressing media coverage and to prevent the issue being discussed. Only last month, there was an internet shutdown at the southeast region of the country. It was not throughout Turkey.
But this is the first time the authorities have blocked Instagram and WhatsApp, revealing the growing popularity of these services in the country like many other places in the world. Restrictions have been used on Skype too, this time. So what the government has done is more intense and wide-spread.
The opposition HDP has asked for the immediate lifting of this blockage, and invited the west to take action against what it calls is the “Erdogan Regime’s coup”.
However, the government is failing to impose a complete ban in the country, as many internet-savvy Turks have turned to VPNs or Virtual Private Networks to vent their anger and frustrations.