As Anti-Government Protests Erupt In Istanbul, Facebook And Twitter Appear Suddenly Throttled
A massive anti-government protest in Istanbul, prompted after days of unrest were sparked by plans to redevelop one of the last remaining central public parks, appears to have led to a throttling of social media both in the city and across Turkey. TechCrunch has independently verified via a number of sources that both Facebook and Twitter have been almost impossible to access from inside Istanbul, and other parts of Turkey. There are also anecdotal reports of authorities switching off access in a localised manner around Taksim Square where thousands of people are demonstrating.
There have been violent scenes in Istanbul, with police firing tear gas and water cannons at people demonstrating against the erection of a shopping centre in a space widely considered to be a protected civic area. The demonstration has escalated into an anti-government and anti-corruption protest against an administration that has been in power since 2002.
Our sources – drawn from the tech community – say that around 99 percent of Facebook “doesn’t load” when accessed from Istanbul.
“They throttled the bandwith to the bare minimum so that officially it’s not blocked, but it’s not loading any more… it looks like the government is reducing the speed using TTNET which is the ISP they control,” said one, who declined to be named for fear of reprisal.
Another source told us: “3G is blocked.”
Another well-placed source at a tech accelerator told us: “We had problems in connecting internet today – mostly due to people trying to access through 3G network. However around 4pm local time access to Twitter and Facebook has been blocked on local ISP (two major ones TTNet and Superonline which among two have over 90% of the land line internet access). I connected through Acevpn and saw that the problem is not my home line but TTNet blocking the access to Twitter and Facebook.”
This source said this happened at a time where the tension was at its peak when protesters were trying to get into the target “Gezi Park” area. “After 30 minutes (approximately) the police withdrew from the area and Twitter Facebook access came back,” he told us.
A spokesperson from Facebook said the company declined to specifically comment on events in Turkey; however they issued the following statement: “The Internet provides people around the world with the power to connect, to learn, and to share. It is essential to communication and to commerce, and limiting Internet access for millions of people is a matter of concern for the global community.”
The truth is, the government controls main ISP and telco operators in Turkey.
They've blocked access to twitter and facebook today.
The police is firing, there're too many injured people. They arrested more than 1000 people.
If you don't beleive watch following:
Thousands of protesters pack Istanbul’s Taksim Square, over 900 arrested across Turkey (VIDEO, PHOTOS)
Edited time: June 01, 2013 21:47
Download video (7.37 MB)
Police in Istanbul have withdrawn from Taksim Square, allowing the mass protest to continue unabated, Turkish media report. Istanbul and Ankara are entering the third day of violent protests, with tear gas and water cannon deployed and over 900 arrested.
Minor scuffles broke out after protesters lobbed fireworks at officers as they were drawing back, the state-run Anadolu Agency reports. Police removed barricades around the square, located in the heart of the city, which had previously been erected to prevent the anti-government protests, Private Dogan news agency said.
Despite the authorities decision to allow tens of thousands to flood onto the square, the main subway gateway to Taksim, the central station in the city's metro network, has reportedly been shut down in an effort to keep more people from reaching the ongoing protests.
In the capital, Ankara, security forces battled with demonstrators who had amassed at a park near Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office. Rallies have also been staged in the cities of Bodrum, Konya and Izmir.
Confronted with the growing street opposition, Erdogan remained defiant, demanding that protesters “stop their demonstrations immediately."
"Police were there yesterday, they'll be on duty today and also tomorrow because Taksim Square cannot be an area where extremists are running wild," the PM warned.
In two days about 939 people have been detained across the Turkey as part of “necessary security measures,”Turkish Interior Minister Muammer Güler said.
On Monday, several dozen activists tried to stage a sit-in in Gezi Park, the last area of green space left on Taksim Square, after several trees were torn up to make way for a commercial redevelopment.
Erdogan dismissed the small protest on Wednesday, saying authorities would go ahead with the plan, which entails the construction of a replica Ottoman-era barracks that could house a shopping mall or apartments.
Following three days of police pressure, which saw officers douse peaceful protesters with pepper spray and tear gas, the sit-in attracted support from broad sections of Turkish society.
On Friday morning, riot police stormed the camp, deploying water cannons and tear gas, sparking the ongoing unrest. Human rights activists said hundreds were wounded as clashes raged on throughout the night.
The heavy-handed tactics deployed by police have been viewed by demonstrators as a sign of the government’s increasingly authoritarian bent, with the park demonstration turning into a broader, nationwide protest against Erdogan’s government.
Similar demonstrations have flared up around the country despite a court decision to temporarily halt demolition of the park.
Erdogan said that the Turkish Interior Ministry had launched an investigation into the use of excessive force by security forces. In a televised speech, the Turkish PM said police may have used tear gas excessively during their confrontation with protesters, although he insisted they did not represent the majority and were responsible for raising tensions.
However, protesters have countered the claim, saying the violent police crackdown is to blame for the recent unrest.
“This started simply as a peaceful sit-in to save a park, but it’s become one of the worst state attacks on protesters in recent memory -- and a frightening example of the Turkish government’s growing eagerness to crack down on its own citizens," an online petition demanding that Erdogan “End the crackdown now!” reads.
"The security forces have been individually targeting protesters to terrify, wound and kill us. 12 people have already suffered trauma injuries from gas canisters -- one man died of heart attack, and hundreds are suffering from excessive gas inhalation,” it continues.