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Turkey Blocking Access to Social Media After Assassination of Russian Ambassador

Assassination likely to lead to more government censorship.

Depo Photos/ZUMA Press/NewscomDepo Photos/ZUMA Press/NewscomThe Turkish government appears to be blocking access to social media networks and messaging apps like Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp in the aftermath of the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey, Turkey Block reports.

The monitoring network says it had detected "severe slowdowns affecting Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and WhatsApp for some, but not all, internet users in Turkey" between last night and this morning. As The Telegraph notes, it's not the first time the censor-happy government of Turkey has restricted access to social media following an incident.

The Turkish government had already recently banned the use of Tor and other virtual private networks, which allow internet users a measure of privacy, and, according to The USB Port, deployed sophisticated blocking tools to prevent the use of VPNs. "All these stringent measures could make Turkey's digital world resemble China's regulations," The USB Port's Angel Diaz writes.

The government of Turkey has been working to improve its ability to censor information on the internet for years, using any excuse, from mass arrests to attempted to coups, to crack down on internet use. After the coup earlier this year, the Turkish government dismissed the European Union's "red line" on freedom of the press, cracking down on opposition outlets and tightening its control over media.

The assassination of Andrey Karlov is far more likely to spur even more censorship in Turkey than it is to harm Russian-Turkish relations, despite the hot takes yesterday suggesting the latter was a real possibility. Leaders of Turkey and Russia both insisted they would not allow the assassination to sour relations. Instead, the Turkish government is already attempting to pin Karlov's assassination on Fetullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric living in exile in the United States, whom the Turkish government already blamed for the attempted coup earlier this year and against whose supporters it has already begun to crack down. Gulen has rejected both allegations.

Karlov's assassin, meanwhile, was identified as 22-year-old Mevlut Altinas, a riot cop from Ankara. A number of his family members have been arrested as the government begins its investigation into the assassination. Karlov often eschewed security measures, and had no security officers by his side at the event yesterday nor, reportedly, where there any on-duty police officers there.

Photo Credit: Depo Photos/ZUMA Press/Newscom

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  • Charles Easterly||

    A Turkey ban at this time of year?

    The U.S. hardest hit.

  • LynchPin1477||

    I prefer to not do Turkey for Christmas, since I always do it for Thanksgiving. Instead we have done ham, pork loin, game hens, goose, duck, prime rib, and lobster tails.

  • John||

    This is kind of bad but I saw the picture of the assassin in the suit holding the gun in that art museum and all I could think is that he looked like Casey Afflack in the filmed bun used unhappy ending to Oceans 11.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Yeah, someone had some balls to be standing that close to him snapping photos as two bodies lay on the floor surrounded by shell casings.

  • John||

    I hadn't thought of that, but that is a good point. Who the fuck takes out their camera in that situation? Either run, stand still hoping he doesn't shoot you, or take your chances and go for the gun. But i can't for the life of me imagine taking pictures. We live in really strange times.

  • kinnath||

    Professional photographer happened to step into the galleria before the shooting started. Decided to do his job instead of protecting himself. Not exactly rational, but ballsy none the less.

  • kinnath||

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/the.....assin.html

    When 22-year-old Turkish policeman Mevlut Altintas stepped out from the crowd and gunned down Russia's ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov at close range in Ankara Monday evening, spectators scrambled and fled for their lives, but Associated Press photographer Burhan Ozbilici calmed himself and in an astounding moment of seemingly casual bravery, grabbed his camera, raised it, and pointed it back at the assassin. The results are gripping, terrifying images taken at arm's length of an assassination.

    Ozbilici said he stopped by the exhibition opening only because it was on his way home from work and recounted how he thought the man on stage brandishing a gun was a "theatrical flourish" until the shooting started.

  • R C Dean||

    Just give him all the awards for press photography, right now.

  • ||

    It means they're meant to do that job I reckon.

  • tarran||

    I think the cameras were set up beforehand: there were reporters there covering his speech. In fact, I think he was giving his speech when the assassin made his move.

  • Pan Zagloba "The Stickler"||

    Who the fuck takes out their camera in that situation

    This guy

    Ozbilici wrote: "People screamed, hid behind columns and under tables and lay on the floor. I was afraid and confused, but found partial cover behind a wall and did my job: taking photographs."
    He said he recognised the danger of moving towards the gunman as others ran away, but he felt he had to capture the scene.

    Turks are badasses, even if it comes out in ways that might look weird when considered rationally.

  • You ARE a Prog (MJG)||

    Photographers take out their cameras. That's what they do. Especially if they've already been in the shit; their impulse to start snapping may now dominate the impulse to protect themselves.

  • Libertarian||

    "Assassination likely to lead to more government censorship."

    True. But in all fairness to President Erdoğan, the lack of assassinations would have also led to more government censorship.

  • ||

    Yeah, I think they were pretty hard at work on that already.

  • ||

    Well, that will certainly show them ordinary folks trying to serf some pr0n terrorists.

  • John||

    Wasn't this guy a police officer or some member of law enforcement? How riddled with Islamic nutcases are the Turkish police forces?

  • JEP||

    When I was in Turkey in 2009, my professor's wife was explaining all the social and political divisions...a woman's hair style would be a political signal, etc. She mentioned that the police department were all members of a certain political party and I remember thinking how strange it was (and a really bad sign) if your police department had a particular political affiliation.

  • tarran||

    You mean like when the cops' union keeps endorsing machine candidates from the a particular political party.

  • John||

    See e.g Chicago Illinois.

  • JEP||

    Yeah, but it's a little more explicit in Turkey.

  • Social Signaling Hair||

    it's not explicit in Chicago?

  • Social Signaling Hair||

    a woman's hair style would be a political signal, etc.

    You don't say.

  • Social Signaling Hair||

    the police department were all members of a certain political party

    So kinda like the U.S. then.

  • Slumbrew||

    ... 22-year-old Mevlut Altinas, a riot cop from Ankara.

    Jesus, people, at least skim the articles first.

  • Tundra||

    Sorry...articles?

    Headline, byline, comments - the H&R trifecta!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Probably afraid of fake news.

  • GILMORE™||

    a riot cop from Ankara

    I saw this yesterday. My thought was, "Riot Cops" are a thing distinct from 'regular old cops'? I guess they have a lot of riots.

  • Princess Trigger||

    A number of countries do this. It's kind of a place where they can warehouse unemployed 18-30 year old men. They sit around and wait for shit to go down. Often their conscripts. You get choice of a harder basic training in the Army or lighter training and getting spit on by college students and dodging molotovs thrown by striking workers.

  • GILMORE™||

    Makes sense. "Crowd control"

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    No Twitter in Turkey? No Takei in Turkey? No Instagram for the Ottomans?

  • Citizen X||

    That's nobody's business but the Turks'!

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Young Turks hardest hit!

  • PBR Streetgang||

    + 10 pound baby boy

  • Pan Zagloba "The Stickler"||

    Don't tell them, they are still having trouble adjusting to Trump victory.

  • Juvenile Bluster||

    Young Turks?

    Young hearts be free tonight. Time is on your side,
    Don't let them put you down, don't let 'em push you around,
    Don't let 'em ever change your point of view.

  • Tundra||

    A number of his family members have been arrested as the government begins its investigation into the assassination.

    The Russians have a special way of handling the families of assassins. Sucks to be the brother of a jihadi nutcase.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Karlov often eschewed security measures

    I bet he won't do that again!

  • Ken Shultz||

    I'd guess this isn't a reaction to the assassination as much as it's in anticipation of something the government is about to do. I believe they did the same thing before they went all raid happy after the recent coup attempt and threw thousands of people in prison for political reasons.

    In other words, they don't want the dissidents talking to each other during raids and crackdowns. If somebody knows their Facebook friends just got arrested, that's an excellent indication that they should go run and hide.

    We tend to see technology as a product of capitalist innovation and resistance to that as a bad thing. Technology is just a tool, and whether it's good or evil depends on how it's used. Radio made people in Great Britain more informed about current events than they'd ever been before. It also made the people of Germany more easily victimized by Nazi propaganda than they'd ever been before.

    "The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom" by Evgeny Morozov should be a libertarian classic. The author was a dissident in Belarus, as I recall. Social media lets revolutionaries organize through the internet like never before, but it also lets authoritarian governments trace dissidents like they never could before.

    http://tinyurl.com/gr4k3lc

    If Facebook had set out to give authoritarian dictatorships a map to identify who was saying what to whom about the government, they could hardly have done a better job.

  • Swiss Servator||

    Social media work in Anatolia?

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