Access to numerous social media platforms was restricted after 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in airstrikes in Syria’s Idlib province. According to data from Netblocks, a group that monitors internet freedom, access to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram were blocked first by the Turkish national platform Türk Telekom on Thursday 27 February at 11:30 p.m., followed by Vodafone and Turkcell soon after.
Even though no official statement was issued concerning the censorship, Netblocks assessed the situation as “consistent with techniques used to filter content in Turkey.” Whatsapp and Youtube were also partially blocked throughout the night. Netblocks said besides social media, no other technical faults in Turkey’s internet performance were found.
Cansu Pişkin from Expression Interrupted spoke with Yaman Akdeniz, a law professor at Istanbul Bilgi University, about this restriction. Akdeniz interpreted the ban as “political censorship.” Emphasizing that the interference was different from the previous experiences, Akdeniz said, “unlike the blocking of Wikipedia or certain news portals, there was no criminal judgeship of the peace order. The slowing down of the internet, in this case, was achieved through the collaboration of technical infrastructure providers with the Information Technologies Agency. By slowing down our access to social media they prevent our right of access to information and news. And the motivation for this censorship is political.”