Sep 152014

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart


Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:

On the 34th  anniversary of the September 12th,  1980 military coup, young liberal Turkish activists organized a protest rally against the retrogression in democratic values and democratization of the country. They got together in Taksim’s Galatasaray Square, wore their white T-shirts, on which were printed “No U Turn” signs, read out a press statement against the undemocratic implementation of laws in the country, and started their march. Unlike all protest rallies beforehand, they were walking backwards as a sign of the Turkish democracy going the same way.

Only a few steps behind them were located riot police and water cannon, aka TOMA, and the group had to divert their path in order not to run into them, but this seemed like another significant coincidence. Members of the “Democracy Watch” and “Law, Liberty, Tolerance” foundations and voluntary activists participated in the protest and recalled the initial steps taken against the coup legacy, back in 2010 during the Constitutional Reform referendum.

The Press Statement reads as follows:

“We have just observed yet another anniversary of the September 12th military coup which has had a significant role in our political and democratic lives and continues to be a bleeding wound. The system that has replaced the rule of law with law of the powerful, has installed a network of bans and prohibitions on individual and social liberties even after the 34 years. In the recent years, we have also observed quite a few positive steps in terms of our democracy and freedoms. One of them was the constitutional reform referenda on September 12th 2010. Even though we had imagined this referenda to be a beginning, it was forgotten before even the end of the year. The militaristic constitution of 1980 continues to be an obstacle in the face of civilian thinking and liberties. Universities continue to graduate uniform persons with the help of Higher Authority for Education. The legal institutions which are supposed to spread justice, get shaped with power-relations and interest struggles. The media which should be independent and unbiased revolve around interest relations. Our people and cities turn paler just like the democratic promises of the government. In Turkey, which has a ranking of 154 in press freedom, 90 in human development index and 88 in international democratic index, all these are announced as “New Turkey”. We the youth of Turkey who wish to see our liberties and democracy among the level of developed countries, refuse to act as three monkeys against all these going on. We do not approve of the backlash in democracy’s basic principles such as basic rights and freedoms, separation of powers. Yet, in order to protest against the backlash and backwardness we have been experiencing as a society and country, we will march backwards. We hereby set a note in history in terms of our values and principles by taking a step back, and continue to walk towards a much brighter future for Turkey.”

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Sep 082014

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

Internet Governance Forum - Gürkan Özturan, Pirate Party Movement Turkey

Internet Governance Forum – Gürkan Özturan, Pirate Party Movement Turkey

Interview by Per Strömbäck, Editor Netopia:

Netopia met Gürkan Özturan, the Spokesperson International Communications, Pirate Party Movement Turkey, at the Internet Governance Forum in Istambul. Interview:

Netopia: How do you find the Internet Governance Forum?

It is a wonderful opportunity to get to meet other people who want to contribute to internet, except not all of them care about internet freedoms. But it’s good to be able to talk about possible basic (and minimum) regulation of the internet. Wonderful opportunity to be part of it, but of course as the Pirates we have our concerns such as censorship and surveillance lobby and their control intentions in disguise of security, and we also have worries about the organisation. It is important for Turkish activists to have an international audience to be able to meet like-minded people and know the global debate here. Living in a country where such state-spying in disguise of security unravels itself and falls down on citizens’ liberties like a dark cloud, I believe we have much to say about the problems with limiting the free internet. There is an ironic situation though, regarding censorship. Actually, the building we’re in right now is free from censorship, what we get here is not the standard Turkish access, but unfiltered. (Editor’s note: This was part of the arrangement with the United Nations when Turkey agreed to organise the IGF.) All kinds of communication is being intercepted in Turkey, like cell phone calls.

N: What are your concerns with the IGF?

One of them is regarding the famous wording of the event: “multi-stakeholder”. Simply multiplication of the stakeholders with a similar point of view does not help bringing us any closer to a free and at the same time secure internet. Many stakeholders would be better. It’s a play on words perhaps, but wording is important. (Laughs). Unfortunately we have seen many people with decision-making power, focusing on the profit side of internet, we have heard many governmental representatives speaking of internet as a sector. Even if we were to perceive internet as a sector, more state interference is not the answer to the well-being of that sector, let alone for the rights and liberties! It would have been better to see more NGO, civil society and activist network representatives and digital rights activists. Currently there is too much of government, ministers, bureaucrats in comparison. I would have liked to see more civil society engagement and contribution to the decision-making processes. I like what Jan Kleijssen from the Council of Europe said: “It’s not the internet that has to be regulated, it’s the behaviour of the governments concerning freedoms and liberties”. I see it as less government, more liberty.

N: Turkey has received international criticism for its lack of human rights protection: how does that relate to hosting the Internet Governance Forum?

It’s ironic that this conference is being held in Turkey, but the history of IGF in places like Bali and Baku, and next year’s venue being Brazil perhaps gives an idea regarding the selection. Perhaps the intention is to find countries that do not really want to allow liberties prevail in their societies. Or in a more optimistic approach, perhaps we can cease this as an opening window. This gives the local digital rights defenders and liberals to interact with international audience and make us get heard. Even if this opportunity might not present itself in the IGF venue, then there emerges Ungovernance Forums. We can see this as an opportunity for the more positive aspect that government can start improving on its approach to human rights and freedoms. It gives me hope about some positive outcomes. However at this IGF there is a lack of panels on censorship and surveillance in Turkey, but government officials repeatedly number-bombarding and stressing that they did not interfere with decision-making on topics in any way is not very convincing. If every single violation of human rights and liberties were to be defended with reference to irrelevant numbers, we would have to re-invent both mathematics and human reasoning.

N: What is the Ungovernance Forum?

It’s a separate event, based on digital rights and liberties, discussions on surveillance, spreading of information and knowledge. It will not be solely based on profit-making and turning the internet into an economic sector. And I believe it is important to have this forum simultaneously with IGF. Moreover, it is impressive to see the support for ungovernance forum. However, the people who really should hear the panels there are absent. But on the other hand, the same people are absent from the IGF panels on youth participation and the future of internet. It is only when they can suggest restrictive, illiberal measures that earns some people a lot of money, they are present at the forefronts. I also would like to mention my favourite quote here from Ben Franklin “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

The interview of Gürkan Özturan is part of the series Voices from Istanbul published on Netopia Website. Read as well the interviews of Dr. Robert Pepper, Vice President Global Technology Policy, Cisco, speaking on behalf of ICC BASIS, and Sally Shipman Wentworth, Vice President Global Policy Development, Internet Society.

Jul 222014

Posted by snakearbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart


Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:

A not-so-secretive home-raiding operation was unleashed just days after the Gulenist movement’s newspapers started revealing statistics of the AKP government’s increasing trade with the Israeli government despite the anti-Semitic, anti-Israeli rhetoric that is prevalent in the AKP party. The operation is taking place only two hours after Erdogan appeared on a TV show saying, “It’s time for a cleaning now.” This sentence was the start of an operation that spread to 22 cities into the morning.

At 2:00 AM on July 22nd, Turkey experienced yet another “first time” in its history, and contrary to the permitted rules of home-raiding operations and arrests, hundreds of doors were knocked on in the middle of the night and arrests began. According to the penal code, house searches and arrests can only be made between 5:00 AM and 11:00 PM. However, in exceptional cases when the operation is led by the Organized Crime and Terrorism Taskforce, home raids on high-level suspects can be carried out at unorthodox times.

At this very moment, hundreds of homes are being raided as this article is being written. Police officers and police chiefs are being arrested, including the ones who participated in the home-raiding operations and operations against the secret service officers who were also involved in the corruption probe investigation against the government ministers, prime minister, and their sons. Another group of police officers are allegedly the ones who uncovered secret Iranian cells operating in Turkey, especially Tawhid-i Salam (linked to Quds Forces/Jerusalem Army).

The charges against the police officers include espionage and forging legal documents that led to the corruption probe being prepared in the last two years. The same accusations had been made against Telecommunications Directorate (TIB) officers after another nighttime raid was carried out on May 31^st against TIB. After the December 17 and 25 corruption probe arrests of dozens of people related to government and business networks, Erdogan had said “we will raid their caves.”

The timing of the operation is also significant. The home raids are taking place just hours before Erdogan addresses the Parliament before it is dissolved for summer recess which, is the last time before presidential elections in August 2014. As the dawn breaks, the operation is spreading to other districts of Istanbul and several other cities. Government “Deepthroat” @fuatavni writes “psychological combat tools are being used to divert public perception right before the elections.” In social media, the operation has been likened to the“Night of the Long Knives” that happened 80 years ago in Nazi Germany.

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Jul 032014

Posted by snakearbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:


Due to legal obstacles in prohibiting social media shares from political dissidents in Turkey, the government has a new strategy: to act as internet pirates. Much different than the political pirate movement, Turkey will now try to hack into ISPs’ systems and surveil on users’ browsing/sharing habits. With this aim, recently the internet watchdog has sent “secret orders” note to ISPs, to prepare necessary software infrastructure in order to detect the users that share unwanted content on social media platforms. Daily Taraf’s Tunca Ogreten’s article reveals government’s plans to intervene in internet users’ privacy and basic freedoms yet again.

The method to intervene in between the user agreement which secures privacy of the user regarding the service s/he signs up for, will hack into the HTTPS protocol and surveil on user habits. The government’s request from ISSs to establish a bug that will work as a spyware is planned to enable browsing all user behavior and data without his/her consent. This includes not only the content of social media updates a person shares but also the e-trade flow and all related data; and the system is planned to be open for immediate interventions.

ISPs will be declared Guilty, not the State

Taraf writes that an ISP manager who does not want to share his name states that s/he has tried telling the TIB authorities that HTTPS security protocol breach is unlawful and a crime but internet watchdog still wants to carry on with the spying plans. The blunt answer from TIB is “there are countries that are able to breach HTTPS traffic, figure it out and do the same.” ISPs state that this is going to be a major violation of human rights and will create security risks. However the strangest part may be that TIB does not install this system by its own; demands the private companies to do it. When it becomes possible to intervene in banking processes and millions of users’ accounts get drained, the internet watchdog that is probably after political surveillance and censorship, will not even be responsible for causing a crash in the economy. On the other hand, the internet regulations bill that is updated last January allows such applications as the law is not clear as to how state will block access to certain content.

Putting Students under Pressure

Another new regulation regarding use of internet is prepared to put more pressure on the most vibrant protesting group in the country: the students. In a country where distribution of wealth is quite uneven, millions of students are urged to live in state-run dormitories, however with the new regulations if a student criticizes government policies or complains of the conditions of universities/dormitories that student will be kicked out of the place. In case of a mass protest at a university or a dormitory, the minister of youth will be allowed to close down the dormitories for a time the minister pleases.

The new regulations and preparations do not cite what methods will be used to surveil on students media, social media appearance. However in certain crowds there are parallels being drawn between real-time censorship, interventions and surveillance, and the recently revealed NetClean software purchase.

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Jun 212014

Posted by snakearbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:

Is the Gothenborg-based NetClean software as innocent as it is presented or is it used for silencing political dissent?


Are Turkey’s notorious attempts to limit freedom of expression on the Internet adopting yet another powerful tool? This is the question that comes to mind when reading the news of the Swedish digital security company NetClean’s possible deal with the Turkish government. It was announced on a pro-government media outlet, Daily Sabah, that the government is to purchase the software for €40 million in order to combat “unwanted content” in the digital public space. As usual, the excuse given to cover the censorship is “child pornography.”

Since last year’s Gezi Park protests and protesters’ intensive use of social-media tools to organize and regroup, Turkey’s government has been taking steps – including a full ban – to discourage millions from using social media to spread political dissent and criticism of government policies. As all other forms of public space and media are under almost absolute control of the governing AKP, social-media platforms and the Internet still serve as the only tool citizens have to express themselves with a degree of freedom.

The head of the Turkish government, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, declared that Twitter was a “menace to society, to all societies,” upon which the government began seeking new ways to prevent the use of the platform for political criticism. The excuse presented was that “all kinds of immorality takes place there, families get separated; this is against the party’s conservative agenda.”

By definition, NetClean presents itself as a company working on software that aims to create a more secure society in the digital sphere by scanning, analyzing and blocking content. Moreover, its primary goal is supposedly to fight child pornography. The software is purchased by governments and ISPs around the world. Yet at what expense?

When one considers the world map of censorship and surveillance, it is not hard to guess which countries would be among the top buyers of this software. The software extends the effects of censorship a step further than WhiteBox initially did. WhiteBox is a software application based on URL blocking that allows users to browse content through filters, using DNS spoofing and ban lists of unwanted URLs. While WhiteBox can be used globally to combat child pornography, various governments have declared intentions to purchase even more advanced software to block content in real time.

In Turkey’s case, one has to remember Prime Minister Erdoğan’s approach to social media platforms, calling them a “source of immorality” and threatening to “eradicate twitter-mwitter all of them.” Moreover, it is important to remember that Turkey’s top general called social media “a threat to state order.”

Last December was a month of chaos for Turkey’s intelligence service. Not only did the intelligence service fail to prevent the spread of news of Turkey’s biggest corruption fiasco yet, but it also proved incapable of detecting the source of the information leak. The leaked sound recordings were allegedly of the Prime Minister’s phone calls with several people, asking for bribes and telling his son to hide the money before a police raid. Although Turkey’s top science institute declared that the sound recordings were a montage, sound/video clips continued leaking and circulating online for months.

Upon the intelligence service’s inability to combat such information leaks, the governing party AKP passed a controversial censorship bill in the parliament in February, allowing state officials to ban Web sites with a simple order, with no requirement of a court warrant or statement of a reason for the blocking. Although this action is in direct violation of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey, the government has repeated its intention to block “unwanted content” and even remove it from the Web.

Currently Turkey leads the world in demands for removal of content from global digital corporations, even though in most cases these demands are in violation of freedom of expression or the right to acquire information. If the Turkish government showed more respect for democratic governance and human rights, perhaps use of this software would not have caused this level reaction from notable intellectuals, academics, NGOs and individual citizens. But censorship always seems to wear the mask of providing more security, while in fact stripping citizens of yet more liberties.

A question that needs to be answered is why Sweden, a country that claims to promote human rights and stand up for human dignity globally, has agreed to sell software that will obviously target political opposition in Turkey. Looking at current uses of censorship mechanisms in Turkey, it can be seen that content regarding Armenian newspapers, Kurdish political movements, LGBT rights and lifestyle, opposition parties’ Web sites and critical articles, anti-racist Web sites, etc. have been banned. One can’t help but wonder how many of these groups Sweden supports as a nation, yet will contribute to repressing in Turkey… Moreover, when one considers the fact that the company was founded with donations from Queen Sylvia of Sweden, the question arises of what statement Sweden’s royal head of state is making.

Lastly, it might make one issue very clear: Turkey is one of the top countries for censorship of pornography, yet also tops the charts for searches for porn content. The Turkish government cooperates with global allies to combat child pornography, yet unfortunately Turkey is the leading country when it come to searches for child porn. Obviously blocking access or applying censorship does not solve a sociological problem emerging from a mentality of prohibition in the country. If the Turkish government were sincere in protecting children, would it not be more useful to prohibit child labor and child marriage and imprison pedophile rapists rather than letting them go? When children are subjected to bullying and violence on the streets, in schools, and at home and are killed by policemen on streets, how sincere is the government’s attempt to implement a censorship policy with the excuse of combating child pornography when at the same time it declares political dissent illegal?

Many governments use the excuse of protecting children, but somehow the policy rapidly turns into a centralized structure of censorship and surveillance – a system of digital detention of citizens. While decentralization of the Internet is vital for the spread and defense of our liberties and knowledge as global citizens, governments’ policy of blocking access, removing content and censoring the Internet is the greatest obstacle to the advancement of democratic governance globally.

More stories by Gürkan Özturan @

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Jun 122014

Posted by snakearbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:


Taksim Solidarity is standing trial today. For raising their voices against all the injustice and crimes committed by the state against civilians. For trying to stop the unlawful destruction and demolition of public spaces. Members of Taksim Solidarity were detained illegally on false charges last year on July 8th, and one after another prosecutors refused to allow a case to be opened. Prosecutors were changed due to active pressure from the government, and finally the newly appointed prosecutor accepted the case and accused Taksim Solidarity of being a “terrorist organization.”

The 26 members of Taksim Solidarity began their defense with Mücella Yapıcı’s remarks. She gave a historical account of the movement and restated the fact that the organization was founded on February 15th 2012, and not on the day when the Gezi Park protests began, May 27th 2013. She emphasized the fact that people who are only making use of their constitutionally guaranteed human rights are being put on trial while murderers and those who gave the orders walk around freely. Yapıcı also stated that the initial aim of Taksim Solidarity was to stop an unlawful attempt to demolish the park and put pressure on authorities to respect the court’s decision to halt illegal construction projects.

Yapıcı continued by telling how she was detained in the first place. In her words, “When governor Mutlu stated that the park was clear and everyone can enjoy it now, we wanted to go to the park, when suddenly hundreds of police started surrounding us and we were arrested for going to the park. When we asked why we were told that we resisted arrest. I only turned my back on the police; if the police accept this I also do. When we were taken to the police station, they carried out a strip search. I was taken to the men’s toilet, where there was a camera. I have a heart condition and I was not given my medication on time.”

Later, when Ali Çerkezoğlu started his defense, he stated “Whereas it is the police, the governor, the mayor and the Prime Minister that are guilty and should be put on trial, we are the ones brought to court. This courtroom is not the place to judge this movement; it is on the squares that this trial should take place.”

The trial is being held at the biggest courthouse in Europe, where the sound systems do not work, thus leaving observers unable to hear the statements. Moreover, only international observers and accredited media members are allowed in the courtroom. Among the observers is listed Amnesty International, which recently released a report stating that 5,500 people are on trial in Turkey for supporting the Gezi Park protests and started a campaign, “I am Taksim” (#IAmTaksim), defending freedom of expression globally and calling for solidarity with Taksim Solidarity. During the recess of the trial for lunch, authorities confiscated copies of Amnesty International’s report from representatives of AI.

Taksim Solidarity consists of over a hundred sub-organizations, including architects, engineers, doctors, lawyers, academics, researchers, etc.

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Jun 022014

Posted by snakearbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:


On the first anniversary of Gezi Park uprising, we the people, with collective consciousness, declared days ago that we wish to commemorate the victims of state violence at ground zero, Gezi Park. There is no need to repeat the fact that according to the Turkish constitution and universal human rights, any kind of peaceful protest can occur without asking for permission of anyone. While the AKP government previously employed plainclothes policemen as provocateurs to make it appear as if police were intervening to suppress violent protests, this time they did not even bother to cover the naked attempt at massacre.

Early on the morning of May 31st, with Gezi Park already closed and Istanbul in lock-down mode, with public transport cancelled, dozens of public buses kept deploying more and more policemen to Taksim Square from the airport where thousands of police officers were brought to Istanbul from all parts of Turkey. Prime Minister Erdoğan declared before the anniversary that anyone showing up on Taksim would have violated laws and that police had received orders to “do whatever it takes to get rid of the people on Taksim Square.”


25,000 riot police, paramilitary forces, 50 TOMAs (water cannons), dozens of riot vehicles, work vehicles, fire trucks, helicopters, all laid siege to Taksim Square to prevent any citizen from entering the park. Except for the vicinity of Taksim, all major squares, surrounding gathering places, mosques, hospitals, and hotel lobbies were occupied by police so that they would not be used as infirmaries or to treat wounded protesters, as happened last year. Taksim Solidarity’s campaign calling for “1 million people to Taksim” must have been absolutely terrifying for Erdoğan to give such immoral orders to stop people at whatever cost. The plainclothes people armed with uniform backpacks, batons and gas masks unleashed all kinds of savagery and brutality arbitrarily against civilians around Taksim Square.

During the day, there were not many problems. Few incidents were observed. However CNN International’s Istanbul correspondent Ivan Watson was harassed on the air. While Watson was on live report to CNN, police came and harassed him, asking for his press card and passport and later kicking him and detaining him while he was on the air, because he was a foreign journalist. This action was part of a systematic sweep of foreign journalists from the area; the orders came from a government that severely criticized the Egyptian coup government that had given similar orders.

CNN’s Ivan Watson detained by Istanbul Police On-Air:


Another significant incident that took place before there was even a protest was the raid of the Liberal Democratic Party’s building and the detention of two liberal activists. Several liberal activists from the 3H (Law Liberty Tolerance) Movement had asked for permission to hang a banner on LDP’s party building, reading in big letters “FEAR NOT!”; however only a minute after the banner was hung, police raided the building. When asked why the activists were being detained, police officers replied “we cannot detain you legally of course, so let’s go for a walk together towards the police station.” The activists were taken to the police station, their phones were confiscated and the data inside deleted (all the photos and videos of the banner being hung). Other movement members on Taksim Square taking photos of the banner were detained and the photos from their phones and cameras were deleted too.


On Taksim Square, when police locked down the park, several young activists took out their books, sat in front of the police, and started reading. After a minute, several police officers started shouting at them, saying “Stop provoking us by reading provocatively, don’t get us nervous like this!” and not long after they pushed the activists away, trying to confiscate their books. Book reading in the park during the sit-in was quite popular on the first day of the Gezi Park protests last year and a Çapulling Library was established in the park during the occupation.

During the day there have been two occupations of train stations on the Anatolian side of Istanbul. While the largest number of policemen were deployed to the European side, the activists in Kadıköy quietly occupied the unaccompanied Haydarpaşa Train Station, which the government wanted to transform into a shopping mall or hotel. Not long after this occupation came a neighboring train station, Göztepe – also targeted by the government to be turned into a shopping mall.


Until 7 PM, police kept pushing people down from Istiklal avenue, and at exactly 7 PM simultaneous attacks began and all hell broke loose. All of AKP’s armed forces started attacking randomly against everyone, gassing, shooting, beating. Dozens of people suffered terrible tortures in day time, in the middle of streets. The newly appearing plainclothes police – much like Iran’s “Basij” (Islamic revolutionary guards) forces – were armed with batons and wore the same yellow jacket. The ratio of the attacks was often ten on one – whenever a protester fell to the ground, 10 to 15 armed “security forces” would run and beat and kick them on the ground him for several minutes.


While all these attacks on civilians were taking place, the media did not deviate from last year’s habit, continuing to show irrelevant programs and documentaries. However there were no reports on penguins this time; this year’s trend was a “strawberry documentary” on CNN Turk. The pro-government media broadcast the events in a completely different manner this time, showing empty/quiet areas and stating that nothing is happening and that the people have lost faith in the protests.


There was no resistance like there was last year. This year’s call for commemoration was simply a day of mourning for the hundreds of miners buried alive as a result of the government’s lack of inspections and indifference towards work-related deaths and for the latest victim of Gezi Park protests: Elif Çermik (64) died in a coma after 159 days as a result of a heart attack caused by tear gas. To commemorate all the deaths that are caused by government’s orders, people wanted to leave flowers in the park, and it is in fact quite a miracle that more deaths did not happen due to uncontrolled police in systematic violation of human rights and attempting to drive all media away from the vicinity.


When the houses of several citizens were raided by people with batons and yellow jackets, they asked who they were and where their permission/warrant papers were. The answer they received was “We have all kinds of permission from the Chief, so you never mind…”


There was another alternative protest in Istanbul as well, to commemorate the Mavi Marmara flotilla, which was raided by Israeli Defense Forces. Nine Turkish citizens were murdered on board by Israeli soldiers. A pro-government NGO held a protest rally to commemorate the loss of lives and campaign for the transformation of Hagia Sophia into a mosque as well as to voice their hatred and threats towards Israel. Thousands marched on the streets from the Sultanahmet, frequented by tourists, to where the Mavi Marmara is harbored, Sarayburnu. No police intervened, no one attacked, no one was hurt… But then again, this was an action in line with the government’s agenda. Double standards are a fact of AKP governance.

As the police had been deployed from across the country to Taksim Square very early during the day and served all day non-stop as protests kept spreading to other districts from Taksim, towards midnight they were getting tired and Taksim Solidarity members were actually able to just walk by into Gezi Park. A couple of hours later there was a group of more than 100 people in the park leaving their flowers… When people entered the park, no one was hurt, and a whole day’s unnecessary use of excessive use of force served to illustrate Erdoğan’s claim to his dictatorial throne, by his very own definition:

“If I were a dictator, would you be able to roam around freely on squares?” (24.05.2014) R.T. Erdoğan

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May 212014

Posted by snakearbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart


Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:

Barış Ataman, a student of Siirt University in Turkey, had received a 10-month prison sentence in Turkey for protesting against the gang rape of primary-school pupils. Afterwards, he had received a second prison sentence of 1 year, 5 months, and 15 days for calling police officers “the army of the imam, AKP’s police.” The young activist was found dead under suspicious circumstances in Lyon, where he had taken refuge from persecution.

Ataman, a student of Kurdish origin, had fled to France and asked for asylum after being repeatedly detained various times and at least five criminal court cases being opened against him. He was an activist, a member of “Student Collectives” and a rather well-known figure in the Turkish opposition. He had fled to Paris two and a half years ago, and last year had moved to Lyon where he lived in an occupied house. Later he started staying with families of his friends.

Suspicious Suicide?

On the night of May 13th, around 09:00 pm, Barış was found burned alive next to the Piscine du Rhône pool site, in Lyon’s 7th district. He was taken to Edouard Herriot hospital where he died. It is not certain whether he committed suicide or was burned to death. The investigation continues. According to his friend Ufuk Dersim, the burn marks on Barış’s body are the result of hot tar.

Student hunt

Barış was detained, arrested and found guilty of protesting against the gang rape of primary school children around a time when a student hunt was being carried out by police in Turkey. Thousands of students were arrested for wearing the Palestinian scarf, having eggs/lemons/umbrellas/books in their backpacks, opening banners that demand free education, or shouting out slogans in protests.

Barış’s second case started with arbitrary violence and an arrest by police. While he was being beaten he shouted “army of the imam, AKP’s police” and was sentenced to 1 year, 5 months, 15 days in prison for “insulting a police officer performing his duty.”

Barış’s last conversation with his father raises suspicion as well. According to his father’s statement, Barış told him “I am being followed. Come and take me home,” after which the father had bought a ticket to France for May 15th, but was unable to meet his son.

This suspicious death reminds some of the three women politicians (Leyla Şaylemez, Sakine Cansız and Fidan Doğan) who were murdered in Paris in January 2013.

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Apr 262014

Posted by snakearbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart


Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:

Turkey’s Minister of Transportation, Maritime and Communications, Lutfi Elvan, has stated that there is now a possibility of replacing the global www standard with a nationally locked ttt protocol. He has claimed that this is not only happening in Turkey but is a widely discussed issue among EU authorities as well.

The minister has stated that due to lack of infrastructure Turkey has been experiencing several misunderstandings with Twitter management over the past year, and evoked the possibility of creating a national Internet protocol as a possible solution.

Elvan also referred to the United Nations and said “the Internet should have a constitution much like the UN charter, declaring all rights and responsibilities and not rely only on the American laws which cover the majority of these social media companies. We need a one and united law regulating the Internet globally, otherwise states can create their national Internet protocols to sustain their safety. This has been discussed for a long time; we can create a protocol of ttt and separate Turkish users from the others, make it impossible for them to reach other systems.”


This attitude of creating a national Internet protocol aims to isolate a country from the rest of the world and block access to platforms which serve as a virtual public space where one can express feelings and opinions, and be heard globally. This blocking access to the global village of the Internet will initially create discontent among users, but the problem would begin when people start getting used to it. On the other hand this statement by the minister also reminds us all of the Vice-Prime Minister’s statement during the Gezi Park protests: “We could have shut down all access to the Internet if we wanted… but we didn’t, so you can see that we had good will.”

Would it really work?

Serhat Ayan of the TKNLJ and Pirate Party of Turkey has evaluated this statement and explained the facts behind the creation of a national restricted Internet protocol.

He states that the world has never ever discussed the creation of a new Internet; on the other hand there have been discussions focusing on the diversification of the present one. In doing this the main demand is for ICANN – the institution that manages Web site domain names – to listen to comments more and become more transparent.

There is absolutely no talk of changing the system as a whole because there is disrespect of international legal norms. Because Internet surveillance is being carried out – unlike the Turkish attempt – through international law. In order for all these laws to be understood in the same manner throughout the world, they are coded as widely as possible, including all international norms.

Establishing a national protocol would not actually mean that these social-media platforms would care more for the national legislation. The norm followed for managing social media, freedom of speech and access to information is the international law that is much wider than national legislation, which might sometimes be over-protective or restrictive.

It would not really matter which country a company may be established in; it would have to follow international law in order to succeed in the global market. However this attempt to create a closed-border Internet protocol on a national scale has been tried out by Iran, and it would be quite easy to see the results of Iran’s experiences of isolationism, censorship, and surveillance.

The creation of a national Internet protocol could in fact be seen as synonymous with saying that the state is terrified of its citizens and knows of no other way of forcing them to not express their opinion freely. As the self-censorship agenda seems to have failed and more and more people are becoming critical of their government and do not refrain from openly criticizing it, states such as AKP’s Turkey will need to take a look in the mirror and decide whether they wish to go against democratic principles in defiance of a large part of the society that demands them.

More stories by Gürkan Özturan @

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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.