Apr 102014

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

Source: ECO Media

Despite the blocking of YouTube in Turkey – ECO Media shows YouTube documentary “My Life under Erdoğan — Video Diary from Istanbul”

Weeks before the blocking of YouTube ECO Media started contacting video bloggers in Istanbul. They have filmed the protests in Gezi Park and other places from the beginning on. And they published their videos on YouTube — until the government stopped them.

But this could not prevent ECO Media´s project. The cooperation between the German production company and the Turkish video bloggers was finished. And ECO Media made many interviews with video bloggers and other eye witnesses via Skype. They talk frankly about Erdoğan´s corruptions scandals, the death of a 15 year old boy, their fear after the local elections. A very intense and personal film — unimpressed by Erdoğan´s censorship.

VIDEO @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d82cRXAFXNM

Mar 252014

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart


Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:

Erdoğan held his long-awaited Istanbul rally on Sunday, for which about a million people were bussed from other cities and districts of Istanbul. It was notable to see how public transport buses were used in organizing an AKP rally and how attendees at the event were well taken care of using public funds.

During his speech Erdoğan talked of the recent Twitter ban and gave signals of a new and more comprehensive ban on all social media, denying all allegations of corruption, election fraud, and breaches of international criminal law:

“No matter who might be, I am not listening! These companies called Twitter, YouTube, Facebook have destroyed families and family values. They have made up material, all kinds of lies. I can not understand how any sane person can defend these social media.

Twitter is not applying our court orders. Excuse my attitude but we are not a third-world country. All of them, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube will respect the laws of the Republic of Turkey. Just like they do to in the USA, China, Russia and England…

The media have started their attacks against us now. They call this intolerance… No matter who might it be; even if the world stood up against us, if there is something threatening my country I must take action. They talk of inexistent things like they have happened. Should I have let them go? Would you not take action? Is it not the reason why you have given us permission?

They [foreign powers] will stir up our country. You have seen what they have done in Gezi Park. You know what happened on December 17 [corruption probe]. So what? Should we stop?

They say, not everyone must think like Tayyip Erdoğan. But I don’t have to think like anyone else either. There is a will behind our government, we do as it sees fit. Telecommunications is under occupation in Turkey. All kinds of tricks happen. Courts do not close down those accounts.

Twitter is blocked because some brother went out tweeting disgusting information there about a sister. That person applied to courts, and they gave the decision to delete such content that has insults. TIB goes to Twitter to tell of this incident but they don’t listen. So we must take our precautions ourselves.

Twitter applies national law when it comes to England, Russia, Germany, China, India, but when it comes to Ukraine, Egypt and Turkey they call themselves ‘liberty.’

They insult Ataturk, swear at our holy values. Should we call this liberty and let it happen? Children get molested, there is racism; should we allow that? We will do all it takes, if not we will block them all! Turkey is not a banana republic.

Those who cry ‘but liberties are perishing,’ sorry… But we will fight against those who tapped our phones till the end. No one can infiltrate our privacy under the cover of liberty. They listen to everyone… These are criminals, they montage tapes, they dub conversations, they make up lies. No one can prosecute the Prime Minister like this! I can not even talk freely at home any more.

I don’t get what Twitter and such are […] If they will act honestly we will give all kinds of support. If they give up their immoralities we will support them. Otherwise, if they continue corrupting family values, they will have Turkey to deal with!”

More stories by Gürkan Özturan @ http://theradicaldemocrat.wordpress.com

More stories about Turkey @ http://99getsmart.com/category/turkey/

Mar 212014

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart


Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:

Erdoğan threatened to “eradicate Twitter and their kind and end this breach of privacy and defamation” just hours before Twitter was banned in Turkey. An urgent court decision has been passed within the framework of several laws, one of which is an anti-terror law. The Telecommunications Institute has announced that the ban is directed against defamation, violation of privacy, and misinformation.

Since the Gezi Park protests of June 2013, there have been many court actions by the Turkish state against Twitter to force it to take down content, block access, and share information on users with the Turkish authorities. Twitter, unlike – according to Turkish authorities – other social media platforms (including Facebook), did not open an office in Turkey and complied with the Turkish court rulings.


In the last few months Turkey had strengthened censorship and surveillance laws and infrastructure and Erdoğan had already said that right after the elections all social media platforms would be banned completely. Moreover he had accused Twitter of collaborating in a coup against his rule in Turkey with the participation of a “robot lobby.”

Only minutes after the ban went into effect, a campaign started, calling people out on streets to protest against AKP. However it seemed very suspicious, since when one analyses the Twitter accounts of the people who write with the hashtag, it is mostly people who previously tweeted for the AKP and actually seem to be bot accounts owed by the party. As there have already been declarations that Erdoğan will do anything in order not to leave office, people had been warned that there would be provocations by the government to force people to take to the streets and turn violent, thus leading up to a situation when elections could be cancelled.

Already, Erdoğan has defied all kinds of election restrictions against his party, AKP, aimed at creating a more egalitarian atmosphere by not allowing any kind of exploitation of national symbols such as the flag or national anthem, or any kind of religious symbols which might lead to unequal terms before elections.

The most recent troublesome issues on social media in Turkey have been: an informant from Erdoğan’s close circle leaking secret information on how the government is corrupt and is going to try to rig the votes, former allies (especially Gülen’s Hizmet movement) declaring open criticism of the government on social-media platforms, leaked alleged phone conversations of government officials, ministers, the Prime Minister, and his family regarding corruption, insult to religious values, bribes, international arms trade to warring nations, violating sanctions on Iran, drug trafficking, etc., rumors regarding an upcoming sex tape of some government officials or another possible leak about death/killing of a nationalist political leader some years ago.

Erdoğan at his party’s rally today in Bursa:

“We now have a court order. We’ll eradicate Twitter. I don’t care what the international community says. Everyone will witness the power of the Turkish Republic”

More stories by Gürkan Özturan @ http://theradicaldemocrat.wordpress.com

More stories about Turkey @ http://99getsmart.com/category/turkey/

Mar 202014

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:


The recent corruption allegations have been gathered and made into a mass statement consisting of 300 pages revealing all kinds of corruption of the government, from illegal arms transfers and billions of euros worth of bribes to trafficking in women. The opposition parties wanted these allegations to be brought to the parliament floor to be discussed officially before the elections, but the ruling AKP party refused this request. Later on, opposition members of the parliament demanded an urgent meeting to discuss corruption allegations, which AKP members had to participate in but rejected open discussion – which means an actual broadcast ban!

Melda Onur, an opposition deputy from the main opposition party, CHP, circumvented this ban through her social media account. She started a livestream of the banned discussion. Obviously, in this day and age, there cannot be a functioning ban of any sort when it comes to freedom of information and the right to acquire knowledge. When one of her Twitter followers asked what would happen if she gets subjected to a parliamentary investigation regarding her circumvention of the broadcast ban, she simply responded “I bite such an investigation :)

Unfortunately, with the dominant presence of AKP members in the parliament, the entire united opposition cannot pass any motion or even keep discussions from being postponed to a later date or time.

More stories by Gürkan Özturan @ http://theradicaldemocrat.wordpress.com

More stories about Turkey @ http://99getsmart.com/category/turkey/

Mar 072014

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart


Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:

Recently in an article, Gigi Alford wrote “Russia goes for gold in internet regulation,” and I was going to suggest that Turkey is a close runner-up. However Erdoğan made a comment that raised the hopes of “censorists” in Turkey for the top place in the Censor’Olympics – Russia being the biggest competition. In the past few weeks, we have suffered the adoption into law of two major draconian bills that allow government censorship and surveillance on society. But recent remarks by Erdoğan go well beyond that, talking of blanket censorship.

Already Turkey is a country of heavy regulations regarding expression of opinion, with surveillance mechanisms profiling and labeling citizens according to their ethnic, religious, and political backgrounds. However, as Erdoğan has revealed his true intentions, apparently there will be no more need for profiling and labeling people. Perhaps after an initial trial of a few weeks, the results were too scary; perhaps there was actually a great majority of the country who are discontented with the government and the only way to stop this discontent from spreading would be to shut down the Internet.

In a country that was declared “partly free” even before the Occupy Gezi protests of last year, with the new regulations, implementations, and intentions of the government, it seems as if Turkey will make it to the “not free” list and take the gold medal in the Censor’Olympics!

Here are Erdoğan’s own words regarding social media from last night’s TV interview where he declared his intentions to ban all social media platforms in the aftermath of local elections on March 30th, when mass protests are expected to take place and the National Security Council has already granted permission to declare martial law in case of widely spread mass protests in the country:

“We are determined on this subject. We will not leave this nation at the mercy of YouTube and Facebook and other kinds [of social media]. We will take the necessary steps in the strongest way. That includes banning them. Because these corporations/institutions encourage all kinds of immorality, spying, and espionage in order to keep making profits. There are no limits [on social media]; freedom must not be understood in an unlimited sense. These people exist in all state institutions as well, but our initial step is to remove them from their administrative boards, because once they are gone the process will go smoothly to lower levels. Afterwards, the true meaning of fear will hold them captive! Then they will start wondering where they will flee to. When their leaders are gone, they will all feel the fear…”

More stories by Gürkan Özturan @ http://theradicaldemocrat.wordpress.com

More stories about Turkey @ http://99getsmart.com/category/turkey/

Mar 032014

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:


During the summer Turkey became famous for dawn raids on peaceful protests and sit-ins. Now, in a dawn operation, the AKP has passed another bill to prevent any future mass protests like Gezi Park. The “democratization package” bill will allow parties to run campaigns in languages other than Turkish and minor parties to get state funds if they pass a 3% threshold in elections. Yet the limitations it is imposing are great.

According to the new bill, anyone willing to organize a protest rally will need to consult with mayors, political parties, unions and syndicates, and then the local governor at the highest level will decide on the location and direction of the rally in the light of these consultations. Prior to the protest, the locations will be declared by the governor on local newspapers and websites. The new bill only allows protests to take place before sunset and all protests that do not disperse after sunset would be declared illegal.

While the government might want to prevent any future mass protests, this means that the right to assembly is on hold, since especially in wintertime, sunset is long before people get off from work. The limitation only allows weekends for protests to be organized, and then only at the place where the local governor (part of the apparatus of the Prime Minister) allows.

The organizing committee of the protests now “must” have a commissioner from the government body. And according to the new bill, police will be obligated to make visual recordings of protests and determine the identity of those attending. Although the bill states that this is only for security purposes, to find suspects in case of a crime, in a country where there is official profiling of citizens based on ethnicity, linguistic background, religious belief, and city of origin, this would only serve to further advance the surveillance state on the street after the infamous censorship bill and secret service bill.

The new bill also states that the moment a protest starts getting out of hand, the organizing committee will have to make a decision to disperse the crowds and notify the police chief of that decision. Again, the responsibility is placed on the organizing committee to declare to the crowd that the protest is over and that everyone should disperse.

In case the committee fails to carry out this “responsibility,” the police chief will notify the governor and give immediate orders – not in writing – to disperse the crowds. It is no secret what methods will be used to disperse them. This is yet another violation of human rights in Turkey.

More stories by Gürkan Özturan @ http://theradicaldemocrat.wordpress.com

More stories about Turkey @ http://99getsmart.com/category/turkey/

Feb 262014

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:


Prime Minister Erdoğan, in his weekly address to his group in Parliament, defended the bills expanding censorship and surveillance by referring to the recently released tapes of phone conversations that revealed corruption at extreme levels. The scandalous phone conversation between the Prime Minister and his son can be accessed here (http://erdogansdollars.blogspot.com.tr/).

Minutes after the phone conversation was uploaded on YouTube, people started downloading the video, and if they were unable to do that they started recording the voice on their phones. Only a few hours later, the original video was censored and in the morning it was not possible to browse to the exact URL of the tape.

The people who downloaded the video from YouTube, started uploading from different usernames and to other platforms as well. While the government was busy trying to accomplish Mission Impossible and censor the leaked phone conversation, people have found a new way of getting around censorship. Throughout the day, people have reported from all over the city that their cab driver put on an audio CD of the phone conversation when they took a cab, that some old gentleman on the bus shouted out “this is my debt to fellow citizens!” and turned on loudspeakers to broadcast the downloaded video, or that a lady on the ferry asked for the attention of all citizens who cared about the taxes they pay for the state’s services and used her phone’s loudspeakers to let everyone listen.

Before 24 hours had passed after the video was uploaded, 2.5 million people had viewed the original video and millions of others saw duplicates. And after work shifts at 7 p.m., at least 10 cities had mass protests calling for Erdoğan to resign. Police attacked with all the hatred they had towards peaceful protests, yet more and more people joined in. The Police may be the protector of the government, yet the people are furious to see one man calling his son to “melt the wealth” to avoid arrest, while citizens at home turn heaters down a bit more so they don’t spend everything they earn to pay the gas bill. Once this information is out there, there is absolutely no way of going back, as the people will find a way to spread this information.

When censorship aims for blanket coverage of information, other ways of spreading it emerge. People have reverted to Samizdat-style information sharing via Bluetooth on public transport, e-mail attachments, cassettes, and CDs. Censorship is a lost cause to begin with and in the end only helps the content reach more people.

More stories by Gürkan Özturan @ http://theradicaldemocrat.wordpress.com

More stories about Turkey @ http://99getsmart.com/category/turkey/

Feb 212014

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:


A court order has ruled that the police forces do not need any court warrants to carry out a full check on individuals they might suspect. The permit is originally applicable only during declarations of martial law to sustain public peace. Police chief of Ankara and vice-mayor had asked for an all inclusive “pre-emptive” permit last month and it has now been granted by an Ankara court.

The stated reason for police’s request was “to ensure national security and public peace, protect general health and general understanding of morality, as well as protecting citizens rights and liberties, and to prevent crimes, circulation of weapons or explosives that are banned from possessing or using, and to detect weapons and explosives”.

The permit concerns over 3 million citizens residing in central Ankara, and gives police the power to check and control the people, their personal belongings, vehicles and other possessions. The vagueness of the permit raises a lot of questions, such as, if the people will be granted their regular rights, like keeping silent or consulting their lawyers.

While this application will surely remind one of the infamous military coup days, which the  Turkish people are all too familiar with, it brings up a new term like “police coup” as the police forces enjoy a status which is above-the-law. They now have unlimited authority to harass and provoke people arbitrarily on the street. In a country where police violence has been a bleeding wound, this new pre-emptive permit will bring further trouble to already vibrant agenda in the country.

With a little more than a month until local elections, corruption scandal occupying the daily agenda with all its weight and newly approved censorship and surveillance bill, the streets seem to be the place that will decide on the future of the country; so the state officials are taking precautions to prevent any possible reaction against repression of rights and misuse of public funds.

More stories by Gürkan Özturan @ http://theradicaldemocrat.wordpress.com

More stories about Turkey @ http://99getsmart.com/category/turkey/

Feb 032014

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:


In order to increase censorship and surveillance online,  the Turkish government is proposing changes to Law No. 5651, otherwise known as the “Code of Publications on the Internet and Suppression of Crimes Committed by means of Such Publications.”

This does not bode well for the freedom of speech online. The proposed changes ensure that censorship will become ever more present in the future with the amendment to Law No. 5651. The following can be expected:

· New methods of blocking “harmful” content will be implemented. Rather than censoring the entire website, these methods will target the URL of infringing sites directly.

· Content that “denigrates particular sections of society on account of social status, race, religion, sect, gender, or region of origin” will be treated as a crime that warrants censorship.

· Internet Service Providers will be required to keep track of personal data and conduct sweeping surveillance on behalf of the government.

· The new blocking methods will make it impossible to access the censored content by merely changing DNS settings.

· The changes in the law hold the possibility to outlaw any blogs in Turkey on subjects other than food, fashion, and travel blogs. Those that include political commentary in particular will be suspect.

· New regulations will harm Internet Service Providers who will, then in turn, likely move their operations outside of Turkey.

· Targeted censorship against social media platforms will be censored much easier due to our Prime Minister’s declaration of Twitter as a “menace to society” and Facebook as “ugly technology.”

· Citizen journalism and independent media will be hit hardest.

The following has already occurred before the bill has been voted on:

· The regulatory bodies of the telecommunications and information have requested that a news portal take down an article on when the main opposition party submitted an official parliamentary question regarding censorship; This official question already exists on the website of the Turkish Grand National Assembly.

· An opposition member of the parliament, Umut Oran who has written his thoughts on his blog on the parliamentary questionnaire which he gave, faced with the surprise demand from telecommunications authority to remove content from his personal blog.

Since the likely changes that this amendment will bring are against the spirit of the Internet as we see it, we as the Turkish Pirate Party, have penned a declaration that denounces this particular law and the proposed changes to it. We invite you to read the entire declaration and, if possible, to support it. The stakes we face now cannot go any higher.

For these reasons, we, the Pirate Party of Turkey, have prepared a detailed declaration in Turkish to announce that we do not recognize the existing Law No. 5651 and the bill to reform this law. You can read full text of the declaration online and support our cause.

If these considerations are not taken into account, the aforementioned changes will be passed into law. We hereby declare that we do not recognize Law No. 5651 in light of the European Court of Human Rights, the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey, and International Law and Regulations, and thus we are notifying the Turkish public, the current government of the Republic of Turkey, and the world at large of this egragious threat to our online freedom.

Perchance our evaluations are not considered, necessary reforms to law be made and the currently discussed reform bill is passed to be made into law; we hereby declare that we do not recognize the concerned Law No. 5651 in light of the European Court of Human Rights, Constitution of the Republic of Turkey and international rule of law, and we serve notice to Turkish and world public opinion on censorship intentions as well as notifying and informing the current government of the Republic of Turkey.

Pirate Party of Turkey has started campaigns against censorship, surveillance and suppression of demands for human rights. You may use the hashtags #SayNo2Censorship or #internetimedokunma

More stories by Gürkan Özturan @ http://theradicaldemocrat.wordpress.com

More stories about Turkey @ http://99getsmart.com/category/turkey/

Jan 202014

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:


A handful of Internetophiles had called for a protest meeting all across Turkey against the reform of the already heavily criticized Internet Regulations Law 5651. The law, stressful enough as it is, brings new, further and more advanced methods of government surveillance and censorship of the Internet, limiting citizens’ (and foreign visitors’) freedom of speech as well as their right to information. The people against further limitation of their rights took to the streets on 18 January at 6 p.m.

Before the protest dozens of buses full of riot police, undercover police agents, dozens of water cannon, and riot control vehicles were deployed to Taksim Square. The area resembled a battlefield when police laid siege to Gezi Park and Republic Monument as they marched from the Ataturk Cultural Center (which has now been turned into a police fortress as civilians are not allowed within 25 meters).


When one rushes down from Istiklal to make it to the protest venue – in front of Galatasaray Lyceum – it is possible that he/she will be stopped several times by the undercover policemen to have his/her smartphone checked for any kind of photos, Facebook posts or tweets. Finally at 6 p.m., as agreed days ago online, the protest began with a thousand people. Passersby keep joining in and only seconds after the protest began, riot police and water cannon blockaded the streets, surrounding protesters. The protesting crowd kept moving back and forth within the same 20-meter area, while a few police officers shouted to the crowd: “Unless you disperse this illegal activity, we will have to use force!”

There were dozens of tourists in the area, sipping their drinks; some families were enjoying a surprisingly warm winter night; people had brought their children and even families with baby-trolleys were around. Suddenly, water cannons started shooting and just a few seconds later blast bombs started going off to scare the crowds. Once again the police department have shown the intolerant face of government regarding voices other than the Prime Minister’s.


In the meantime, most media portals started giving the news with the headlines “Protest Causes Clashes in Taksim,” failing to report that it was indeed the police that disturbed the crowds and a completely peaceful protest.

Meanwhile, the government started a new campaign against “too much freedom.” Next to an image of a beaten woman is a line that translates “Violence is a crime. What about the Internet? Absence of rules does not mean liberty!”, equating surfing the Internet freely and expressing opinions with using violence against someone. The once allegedly liberal AKP seems to have declared war on liberties and freedoms, now defending more regulations in every aspect of life and censorship of the media, literature and the Internet.


The worst part of this story is not the revealing of the true spirit of the AKP’s censorship attempts, but the fact that the bulk of the people who support the party think they will not be affected by these draconian laws at some point.

The result of the night was hours of clashes after the police attacks, dozens arrested, many people gassed, beaten, dragged to police stations, shot in the eyes with rubber bullets, and many severely wounded. Inhaling that gas makes one cough from the depth of one’s lungs. Yet the stink of oppression against liberty is even worse.


More stories by Gürkan Özturan @ http://theradicaldemocrat.wordpress.com

More stories about Turkey @ http://99getsmart.com/category/turkey/