Limits on content continued to increase in Turkey over the past year. Prompted by a series of deadly terrorist attacks, the government repeatedly blocked or throttled social media platforms in a bid to halt the dissemination of images and videos surrounding the events. In addition, scores of news sites and Twitter accounts were blocked or removed, particularly those covering the conflict with Kurdish militants. Journalists, scholars, and public figures that are critical of the government faced coordinated harassment by progovernment trolls on Twitter.
Blocking and Filtering
Blocking continues to increase steadily in Turkey. According to the reports of the independent organization Engelli Web, as of May 2016 over 111,000 websites were banned based on civil code–related complaints and intellectual-property rights violations. The number of blocked websites has risen from 43,785 to 111,011 in three years.22 This figure includes numerous sites that were blocked for political or social reasons, such as news outlets or online communities that report on LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex) issues, ethnic minorities, specifically pro-Kurdish content, anti-Muslim content, or social unrest.
Authorities specifically targeted the online accounts of journalists and activists this year. A number of platforms were blocked during the coverage period, frequently for refusing to restrict Turkish users’ access to specific pages or posts. The TİB and Turkish courts blocked access to thousands of URLs including but not limited to pro-Kurdish websites such as Rudaw, BasNews, DİHA, ANHA, Özgür Gündem newspaper, Yüksekova Haber, Sendika.org, RojNews, ANF, BestaNuçe, as well as data journalism website Dag Medya,23 alternative news source Jiyan, Marxist website marksist.org, and most of the outlets’ Twitter accounts.24 The Supreme Electoral Council of Turkey (YSK) blocked access to more than 90 URLs for sharing polls before the elections. After a request by Yaman Akdeniz and Kerem Altiparmak, two law professors, the YSK lifted the ban.25 The TİB blocked access to five of the most commonly used LGBTI websites, namely GayLey, Travestice, Tracesti Sitesi, Turk Gay Bar, and Istanbul Gay.26
Furthermore, Turkey has censored atheist and anti-Muslim websites deemed defamatory, according to a court order dated February 27, 2015.27 The Ankara Golbasi Criminal Court of Peace issued an order to ban 49 URLs, including atheist and anti-Muslim websites; the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and its corresponding Wikipedia entry; and Turkish and foreign news articles about a controversial Charlie Hebdo cover that caricatured the Muslim prophet Muhammad.28 Akdeniz and Altiparmak also filed an objection against that decision, but the websites remain blocked.
In most of cases, owners of the banned websites were not informed of the order or were not given sufficient time to comply. For example, on August 9, 2015, TİB banned access to Dag Medya, a data journalism website which also operates as a hub organizing events for journalists. Dag Medya reported that TİB did not send a notice about illegal content in the website, nor did it provide justification or a court order.29
Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube were briefly blocked or throttled until they complied with court orders to remove “criminal” content, including images and videos related to deadly bombings in Suruç, Ankara, and Istanbul. In all of the following cases, restrictions on social media platforms occurred within 1-2 hours of each incident, indicating authorities may have sent more informal orders to ISPs prior to the official orders cited below:30
On July 20, 2015, a suicide bombing killed 32 people, mainly student activists, in the southeastern border town of Suruc.31 Two days after the bombing, a court banned access to a total of 173 URLs, including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and 38 news websites as part of a ban on images and footage of the incident.32 A backlash started immediately using the hashtag #TwitterBlockedinTurkey and Twitter was once again accessible two hours later, following the removal of most of the pictures and videos of the bombing.33 Later on, the Sanliurfa Judgeship reversed the gag order and lifted the ban on 173 URLs, citing “press freedom.”34
A terrorist attack on October 10, 2015 killed more than 100 people at a peace rally in Ankara.35 Users reported difficulties accessing Twitter and Facebook, as well as Instagram posts marked with the hashtags #Istanbul, #Ankara, and #Diyarbakir.36 The Turkish Supreme Board on Radio and Television (RTÜK) imposed a ban on broadcasting pictures and videos of the massacre and, October 14, Ankara’s 6th Judgeship issued a gag order, which lasted five days,37 banning “all kinds of news, interviews, criticism and similar publications in print, visual, social media and all kinds of media on the internet” related to the ensuing investigation.38
On January 12, 2016, a suicide bomber in Istanbul’s popular Sultanahmet area killed 10 individuals, mostly German tourists.39 The prime minister’s office quickly banned all media coverage of the blast, citing national security concerns. A few hours later, an Istanbul court issued a gag order affecting social media platforms.40
On March 13, 2016 another suicide bombing occurred in Ankara’s Guven Park near a bus stop, killing at least 37 people.41 Within one hour, Turkish authorities censored news coverage and the RTÜK imposed a ban on broadcasting pictures and videos of the massacre. Turkish ISPs throttled traffic to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, following an order by an Ankara court.42 Five days later, Ankara’s 6th Criminal Judgeship of Peace issued an order banning 214 URLs that included news and footage of the bombing.
An attack on March 19, 2016 on Istanbul’s Istiklal Street killed five people and wounded 36, mainly foreign tourists.43 Once again, a media ban was immediately issued by the office of the prime minister. The TİB issued a ban order on all content and news on the bombing, and shortly after, access to Facebook and Twitter44 was restricted for over 24 hours.45
The blog-hosting service WordPress was temporarily blocked in July 2015 over five WordPress-hosted sites on Kurdish politics. In a blog post on its transparency page, WordPress’s parent company, Automattic, explained that one of the sites targeted by the TİB for allegedly supporting terrorism actually featured content that was critical of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Kurdish militant group that is classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States, and a number of other governments.46 As the site employs HTTPS, a connection method that makes blocking a single page technically very difficult, a second order called for the blocking of the entire WordPress.com domain.47 Access was later reinstated.
Currently, access to a number of well-known sites and services is blocked, including Metacafe and Imgur.
URL-shortening services Bit.ly and Dld.bz were both temporarily blocked over the coverage period, although they do not host content. The TİB later restored access to Bit.ly and explained that the site had been banned due to a technical error.48 Access to Dld.bz was also restored, although without a statement.49
The TİB blocked Reddit for three days in November 2015 due to obscenity.50 Tumblr was blocked by a court order in April 2016, while Metacafe and Imgur remain blocked from previous coverage periods.51
Russian social networking site VKontakte and Deviantart were blocked in early 2016, according to reports from Turkish censorship forums.52
Sanliurfa Criminal Judgeship of Peace issued a blocking order to international sports site Goal.com by reason of illegally betting. The decision was reversed and the site is now accessible.53
EngelliWeb reported that encrypted messaging service Wire and VoIP service Viber were blocked in April 2016 for a few hours. The event was later confirmed by Viber.54
On April 11, 2016, Slack, Amazon, and many sites using Amazon Web Services were inaccessible on the TTNet ISP, potentially due to a technical error.55 TTNet blocked Amazon Web Services without any reason, thus application and websites that are using AWS, including but not limited to Slack, a popular cloud based team collaboration tool, were temporarily down.
The TİB blocked Russian news agency Sputnik in April 2016.56 Six days later, Sputnik’s Turkish bureau chief Tural Kerimov was refused entry into the country and his residence permit and press credentials were seized.57 The ban was lifted on August 8, 2016, one day before a meeting between President Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart.58
The blocking and removal of online content (see “Content Removal” below) is regulated under Law No. 5651, whose full name is “Regulation of Publications on the Internet and Suppression of Crimes Committed by Means of Such Publication.”59 It was initially established in 2007 to protect children and prevent access to illegal and harmful internet content. This includes material related to child sexual abuse, drug use, the provision of dangerous substances, prostitution, obscenity, gambling, suicide promotion, and crimes against Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founding father of modern Turkey.60 The responsibilities of content providers, hosting companies, public access providers, and ISPs are delineated in Law No. 5651. Domestically hosted websites with proscribed content can be taken down, while websites based abroad can be blocked and filtered through ISPs. The law has already been found to be in contravention of the European Convention on Human Rights.
In December 2015, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the blocking of YouTube in 2008 violated Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, specifically the right to freedom of expression. The lawsuit was brought to the court by law professors Serkan Cengiz, Yaman Akdeniz, and Kerem Altıparmak.61
Law No. 5651 has repeatedly been amended over the past few years to broaden the scope for censorship.62 A set of amendments enacted in March 2015 authorized cabinet ministers to order the TİB to block content when necessary to “defend the right to life, secure property, ensure national security and public order, prevent crime, or protect public health.” The orders are then taken up within four hours by the TİB, which must also submit the decision to a criminal court within 24 hours. If a judge does not validate the decision within 48 hours, the blocking order must be rescinded.63 A similar bill passed in September 2014 had been overturned by the Constitutional Court in October of that year. While the original version of Law No. 5651 included only notice-based liability and takedown provisions for content that violates individual rights, changes passed in February 2014 extended this provision to include URL-based blocking orders to be issued by a criminal court judge. The February 2014 amendments also entrusted the TİB with broad discretion to block content that an individual or other legal claimant perceives as a violation of privacy, while failing to establish strong checks and balances. These changes came after leaks of the alleged phone conversations of top government officials on December 17, 2013, and they laid the groundwork for the eventual blocking of social media platforms.
The February 2014 amendments to Law No. 5651 also shield TİB staff if they commit crimes during the exercise of their duties. Criminal investigations into TİB staff can only be initiated through an authorization from the TİB director, and investigations into the director can only be initiated by the relevant minister. This process casts serious doubt on the functioning and accountability of the TİB. ISPs are required to set up a new Association for Access Providers, membership in which is compulsory in order to obtain an “activity certificate” to legally operate in the country. ISPs must also comply with blocking orders from the TİB within four hours or face a penalty of up to TRY 300,000 (US$103,000). Failure to take measures to block all alternative means of accessing the targeted site, such as proxy sites, may result in a fine of up to TRY 50,000 (US$22,000).64
The vast majority (94 percent) of blocking orders are issued by the TİB,65 rather than court orders.66 The procedures surrounding decisions are nontransparent in both cases, creating significant challenges for those seeking to appeal. Judges can issue blocking orders during preliminary investigations as well as during trials. The reasoning behind court decisions is not provided in blocking notices, and the relevant rulings are not easily accessible. As a result, it is often difficult for site owners to determine why their site has been blocked and which court has issued the order. The TİB’s mandate includes executing judicial blocking orders, but it can also issue administrative orders for foreign websites, content involving sexual harassment of children, and obscenity. Moreover, in some cases it successfully asks content and hosting providers to remove offending items from their servers, in order to avoid issuing a blocking order that would affect an entire website. This occurs despite the fact that intermediaries are not responsible for third-party content on their sites. The filtering database is maintained by the government without clear criteria. A “Child and Family Profiles Criteria Working Committee” was introduced to address this problem in 2012, but it was largely made up of BTK members or appointees and does not appear to be active.
In addition to these blocks, ISPs offer “child” and “family” filtering options under rules established by the BTK in 2011, though the filtering criteria have been criticized as arbitrary and discriminatory.67 The BTK tried to mandate filtering for all users in 2011,68 but withdrew the proposal following a legal challenge.69 The child filter obstructs access to Facebook, YouTube, Yasam Radyo (Life Radio), the Armenian minority newspaper Agos,and several websites advocating the theory of evolution,70 even as some anti-evolution websites remain accessible.71 Internet access is filtered at primary education institutions and public bodies, resulting in the blocking of a number of minority news sites.72
In addition to widespread filtering, state authorities are proactive in requesting the deletion or removal of content. Social media platforms comply with administrative decisions and court orders as promptly as possible in order to avoid blocking and, more recently, throttling. Like international social media platforms, popular Turkish websites are also subject to content removal orders. Courts issued several orders pertaining to user-generated content websites such as Eksi Sozluk (Sour Dictionary), Inci Sozluk (Pearl Dictionary), and ITU Sozluk (Istanbul Technical University Dictionary).
Turkey has consistently featured among the countries with the highest number of removal requests sent to Twitter. Of all of the tweets “withheld” by Twitter around the world in the second half of 2015, Turkey accounted for almost 90 percent. Requests from courts and government agencies reached 2,211, and rose to 2,493 in the first half of 2016. In each reporting period, Twitter indicated it complied in 23 percent of cases. 73
Some believe Twitter has under-reported its own censorship in Turkey.74 The company was fined TRY 150,000 (US$51,000) by the BTK for failure to remove “terrorist propaganda” from the site in December 2015,75 although Twitter appealed the fine in a Turkish court one month later.76
According to Facebook’s Government Requests Report for the period of July to December 2015, the company restricted 2,078 pieces of content on orders from both the BTK and Turkish law enforcement, particularly in compliance with Law No. 5651 on the internet.77 In March 2016, Yeni Şafak, a progovernment daily newspaper, claimed that their official Facebook page with 10 million “Likes” was removed without notice. The newspaper stated the move was meant to “silence Turkish media” and, along with the TİB, condemned Facebook. In a statement, the company confirmed they had noticed “irregularities” in the number of the page’s followers, which according to one journalist, had increased by five million in only eight months. Facebook reopened the page 10 days later after removing 2.5 million “spurious likes.”78
Media, Diversity, and Content Manipulation
The climate of fear created by widespread government prosecution of online activities has led to an increase in self-censorship, particularly when it comes to criticism of the government or public officials. Speech on Islam or the prophet Muhammad, as well as posts about the “Kurdish problem” or even calls for peace can result in death threats and legal battles. Turkish-Armenian relations have become less controversial in recent years, but they remain sensitive, particularly during periods of ethnic tension and violence in the southeast.
Turkish users increasingly rely on internet-based publications as a primary source of news, and despite the country’s restrictive legal environment and growing self-censorship, the Turkish blogosphere is still surprisingly vibrant and diverse. There are a wide range of blogs and websites through which citizens question and criticize Turkish politics and leaders, including on issues that are generally viewed as politically sensitive. The majority of civil society groups maintain an online presence.
Numerous79 reports80 have revealed that an “army of trolls,” numbering around 6,000 individuals, has been enlisted by the ruling AKP to manipulate discussions, drive particular agendas, and counter government critics on social media.81 Journalists and scholars who are critical of the government have faced orchestrated harassment on Twitter, often by dozens or even hundreds of users.82 Shortly before the November 2015 elections, progovernment trolls circulated allegations that Oy ve Otesi (Vote and Beyond), the first civic election-monitoring initiative in Turkey, was committing fraud and aiding terrorist organizations. A Twitter account named “Vote and Fraud” with 42,000 followers warned supporters not to get involved with the group. Only a week before the smear campaign, it was found that the account had purported to be a young girl sharing romantic quotes, adding to speculation that “Vote and Fraud” was a fake account created solely for the purposes of trolling.83 Progovernment trolls have also been active amid rising tensions with foreign governments, such as Russia, which recently commenced a propaganda campaign against Turkey after the shooting down of a Russian jet in December 2015. In response, “TrollState Russia” became a trending topic on Twitter in a campaign allegedly orchestrated by Erdoğan’s public communication officer.84
Although a large number of websites are blocked, circumvention tools are widely available, enabling users to avoid filters and blocking mechanisms. Each time a new order is issued and a popular website is blocked, articles are published to instruct users on how to access it. As proof of users’ tech savviness, YouTube was the eighth-most-accessed site in Turkey in 2010, at a time when it was officially blocked.85 However, when internet users employed Google's Domain Name System (DNS) service and OpenDNS to evade blocks on both Twitter and YouTube in 2014,86 Google announced that it had received several credible reports and later confirmed that Turkish ISPs had intercepted and hijacked the settings.87
Turkish users often turn to the internet to find news on domestic issues not covered by mainstream broadcast media. According to IAB Turkey Internet Audience Measurement, the most visited online news source is milliyet.com.tr, the online edition of the newspaper Milliyet.Hurriyet, an influential newspaper is the second-most visited online news source.88New models for citizen journalism and volunteer reporting are also gaining traction, such as 140journos, dokuz8haber (literally, “nine8news”), and Otekilerin Postasi (“The Others’ Post”) whose editor was arrested in November 2015. News about the southeastern region of the country, heavily populated by Kurds, is heavily influenced by the government. Frequent power outages, mobile internet shutdowns, and censorship of prominent local news sites make information gathering even more difficult in that area.
On March 4, 2016, Gülen-linked newspapers Zaman and Today’s Zaman, as well as Cihan News Agency, were seized and new progovernment89 editorial boards were established by a court order.90 The online archives of each paper were deleted, as well as Zaman’s previous Twitter activity.91
Digital activism has played a significant role in the country, particularly after the Occupy Gezi protests of 2013. In March 2016, mobile operator Turkcell came under fire on social media for its sponsorship of the Ensar Foundation, which was allegedly involved in a child sex abuse scandal. After the company refused to cut ties with the foundation, it also sought help from the courts to censor 862 tweets from 743 accounts in order to curb critical coverage.92 As a result, hashtags such as #TecavüzCell (RapeCell), #EnsarCell, and #SansürCell (CensorCell) started trending on Twitter. Twitter refused to comply with a court order to remove the tweets and emailed users stating that the company will appeal the decision in a higher court.93 Digital rights lawyers Yaman Akdeniz and Kerem Altiparmak also filed an appeal before the Constitutional Court.94 Turkcell continued to call for the removal of hundreds,95 and later thousands96 of additional tweets throughout the month of April and even filed a lawsuit for TRY 10,000 (approximately US$3,000) of damages from 124 Twitter users.97
Organizations such as Oy ve Ötesi (Vote and Beyond), the first civic election-monitoring initiative, used social media tools to enlist over 60,000 volunteers to monitor more than 130,000 ballot boxes during the general elections of November 2015,98 despite unsuccessful attempts to ban the organization.99 Dogruluk Payi (“Share of Truth”), Turkey’s first and only political fact-checking website, was also a popular source for information during the elections.100
Turkey, the world champion in Twitter censorship, presents a tough challenge for regular internet users thanks to its growing blacklist of 100,000 banned websites.
But determined Turks are tough. After all, they are the ones who placed the #TurkeyBlockedTwitter hashtag on world’s top trends list—while Twitter was blocked nationwide.
And despite Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan having sued nearly 2,000 people for insulting him—many for social media posts—he couldn’t manage to stop online political criticism inside Turkey, nor could he stop networks of activists spreading news of Turkey’s human rights violations all around the world.
As such, the ‘hurdle web’ of Turkey (as named by the citizens’ collective behind the list of banned websites, Engelli Web) has turned many ordinary citizens into anonymous internet activists.
The risks of having an opinion
Let’s start with the risk assumptions. Anyone in Turkey may get fired or remain unemployed for not being sufficiently pro-government. Opposition claims that young graduates are asked to become a member of the party in power, the Justice and Development Party (known by its Turkish acronym, AKP), to secure a job; local AKP branches reportedly distribute job application forms. For those who obtain a position at a government body, social media serves as a background check, so many delete critical comments they publicized in the past.
Sometimes it is hard to keep up the pace with the government. Just this week, one pro-Erdoğan columnist lost her job for a tweet criticising Erdoğan’s changing Israel policy. Another media professional, who spoke with the Daily Dot under conditions of anonymity, said he does not post or retweet any political opinion whatsoever for fear of reprisal from different groups at his workplace.
Anyone who posts with their real name and profile picture runs a higher risk. Turkcell, a pro-government mobile operator that stood on the wrong side of a child abuse scandal, is now seeking 10,000 Turkish Liras (about $3,345) in damages from thousands of Twitter users who joined the calls to boycott the company. One of the defendants told the Daily Dot that he didn’t use his real name on Twitter, but Turkcell lawyers found him by reverse searching his Twitter profile photo on Facebook.
Public figures have nowhere to hide if they dare to criticise Erdoğan due to an online lynch mob of pro-AKP trolls that finds them. In April, Dutch publicist Ebru Umar, who was in Turkey for a holiday, not only became victim of an organized online harassment by thousands of Erdoğan fans but also got detained in the middle of the night after police received “a tip” that she insulted the president. From newspaper editors to top models, any public figure who makes fun of Erdoğan can face up to four years in jail for “defaming Turkish president.” Even abroad, Turkish Embassies are working hard to make sure that no one defames Erdoğan on the internet.
Human rights defenders, journalists, and opposition politicians pay the highest price. Criticising Turkey’s security policy towards Kurds or reporting about civilian deaths can bring “terrorism” charges. Most recently, four academics who signed a peace petition, and three journalists who joined in a solidarity campaign, were accused of “spreading terrorist propaganda” and were put in jail. İrfan Aktan, editor of İMC-TV, a channel known for its critical coverage of the military operations in Southeast Turkey, was detained in a house raid and interrogated by counter-terrorism police to explain why he was “retweeting other journalists’ articles.” Hayri Tunç, then a reporter for online news portal Jiyan, got arrested and then sentenced to two years in jail for “spreading terrorist propaganda” on social media. Jiyan is among the long list of news websites banned by the government since last summer.
The blank page of censorship
While Turkey’s censorship machine is not as technically capable as China’s Great Firewall, it is still very effective in controlling the spread of the news in rural Turkey, especially when combined with gag orders issued right after political crises. Yet, Turkish citizens continuously adopt new methods of circumventing online censorship to read news, and they create novel ways to share their opinion without risking their freedom or job security.
First of all, if a website does not load in Turkey, or if internet access is unusually slow, it is most likely not a technical fault or server maintenance but government censorship. Acknowledging that the government is the leading cause of access problems actually saves much time; you don’t need the restart your router or call the internet company, but just switch to your favorite virtual private network (VPN) service and keep on.
According to a recent survey, Turkey is among the top five countries in VPN use, and the most popular reasons for use are accessing restricted sites and reaching news. One popular VPN service, ZenMate, notes the spike in number of users from Turkey when Twitter and Facebook was blocked by the government following the recent explosions that hit Istanbul Airport. This habitual practice of VPN use plays a key role in the aftermath of such incidents thanks to a government that also developed a practice of media blackouts, time and again. Back in March 2014, the Tor anonymity network had a similar surge of new users from Turkey after Twitter, a hub for news of government corruption, was blocked before the local elections. When the Turkish government took a step further and blocked Tor’s website as well, the Daily Dot published a list of unblocked URLs and called for more Tor bridge relays—private Tor connections—for Turkish Tor users.
Not every company operating in Turkey is a defender of free speech. Bullied by the Turkish government, Facebook bows down to most requests for censoring political content and thereby avoids longer nationwide bans. In 2012, an angry and underpaid content editor leaked internal Facebook documents, which had instructed that any content unfavorable to Ataturk, founder of Turkish Republic, and posts favourable to PKK, an outlawed Kurdish militant group in Turkey, should be censored by Facebook editors. Indeed, there were many reports that politically active Kurds had their pages removed multiple times, and the company went so far as to remove Turkey’s main pro-Kurdish opposition political party’s Facebook page.
Beyond nationwide blocks and throttling access to social media, Turkey pushes for more sinister ways of censoring content as well. After the October 2015 Ankara bombing, Instagram reportedly removed certain pictures tagged with Turkish cities based on “community guidelines.” So did Twitter after an April hostage taking situation in Turkey. But having fought against hundreds of court orders from Turkey, Twitter’s legal team is experienced enough to detect political censorship and revert the decision on some of the censored content when approached by reason.
But Turkish social media users are even more experienced in their fight for freedoms. Against Facebook’s PKK censorship, a citizen network developed cryptic ways to deliver news: An editor told me that since they are blocked from reporting directly about PKK, they instead spell it as ‘KKP’ and circumvent the ban. Kurdish Twitter users, most of whom have multiple government requests for banning their accounts, slightly alter their Twitter handles after each court order (e.g. ‘@DailyDott’ or ‘@DailyyDot’) and thereby override Twitter’s obligation to implement the court order.
Regarding the ban on news websites, a cat and mouse game is in play. Dicle News Agency, known for its established network of reporters in the war-torn Kurdish regions, had recently “celebrated” their 41st new domain name since government’s censorship spree last summer. By using different combinations of their name and using all available ccTLD’s and gTLDs (including .xyz, .link and .win), the agency avoids the ban through multiple mirrors, which are announced through its social media accounts until those domains are censored. Another banned news portal, Sendika, has been using ascending numbers in their URLS—such as ‘Sendika10.org.’ And editors expect readers to find the new domain easily if they are faced with a blank white page when they visit.
While all these methods help to overcome increasing censorship, there are problems that they cannot overcome. When, for example, the Turkish government seized an opposition daily, Zaman, the newly appointed pro-government editor’s first act was to delete Zaman’s online archive completely from the web. (Thankfully, there is Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, which can retrieve most of the lost archives of the daily.)
Although Turkey’s censorship machine makes the moststupidmistakes, it is sophisticated enough to help Erdoğan win elections—but Turkish internet users all around the world always make sure that he at least loses face.