Turkey blocks WhatsApp, YouTube and more just weeks after downing GitHub

4 Nov 2016

President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Image: kafeinkolik/Shutterstock

Turkey’s tight grip over internet access continues, as reports of restrictions on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram and Skype emerge.

If October was the month of Turkey’s attack on the cloud, November is the month of its attack on social media.

Fresh reports are emerging that the Turkish government has followed up its detention of 11 pro-Kurdish lawmakers, with a scythe to an array of social media companies.


The TurkeyBlocks monitoring resource has detected restrictions on access to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WhatsApp, Skype and Instagram.

The attack on social media is something that hasn’t happened for a few years in Turkey.

Earlier this week, there was a full internet shutdown in Turkey’s south-east, the region the 11 arrested lawmakers were from.

Last month, Turkish authorities blocked major cloud service providers and code-hosting sides, amid the release of government leaks that brought president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s regime under the spotlight.

GitHub, Microsoft OneDrive and Dropbox were briefly blocked in Turkey on Saturday 8 October, as the country’s government sought to manage the leak of over 57,000 emails.

The move came after hacking group RedHack released 17GB of emails dating back to 2000, highlighting relationships between the Turkish government and media groups, notably pro-government Twitter commenters.

The Daily Dot – which claims to have received the email dump in full – alleges that the leak shows how Erdoğan used his position to influence the media, with the publishing of select information in pro-government newspapers in particular focus.

Turkey is still in a state of emergency, originally imposed after a failed coup in July, which allows Erdoğan and his government to bypass parliament when drafting new laws, and to restrict or suspend rights and freedoms.

In short, expect more internet restrictions.

Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Image: kafeinkolik/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic