Access to the internet in Turkey is becoming increasingly ragged, as growing state censorship collides with retaliation by anti-censorship hackers, leading to difficulties both in viewing sites and applying key online functions.
Earlier this month, The Register reported that multiple Google services including Google Translate, Google Docs and Google Books were inaccessible. This appears to be a consequence of a request that Turkish ISPs block access to certain IP addresses associated with YouTube. The request was issued by the Telecommunications Communication Presidency on 3 June.
Yesterday, an Ankara Public Prosecutor added to the list by asking Ankara’s 1st Criminal Court of Peace to block access to 44 IP addresses related to YouTube and Google-related services. The Court complied, and users shortly began to report that services such as Picasa and Google Maps had become impossible to use. A number of other Google services are now reported to be malfunctioning.
Since early this morning the websites of the Ministry of Transportation, the Information and Communication Technologies Authority and the Telecommunications Communication Presidency have been inaccessible. These three state bodies are responsible for internet censorship and have been the principal actors behind attempts to block access to YouTube and Google-related services in Turkey.
A number of theories abound, with favourites the state authorities’ websites have either been hacked or subject to a serious denial of service attack by hackers unhappy at the censorship.
Writing for the CyberLaw UK Blog, Dr Yaman Akdeniz, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, Istanbul Bilgi University, now writes that it has been confirmed as a denial of service attack coordinated by a group of hackers to protest against internet censorship in Turkey, and that the attack lasted 10 hours.
We are at present unable to locate the original press release referenced by Dr Akdeniz. ®