Yesterday, police in Turkey served arrest warrants on one hundred, eighty nine appeals court judges and prosecutors in the latest post-coup attempt purges. Since the July, 15th military coup, seeking the ouster of dictator Recep Erdogan, thirty-two thousand individuals are currently in jail and over one hundred thousand were sacked from their jobs under the questionable accusation of aiding dissident Fethullah Gulen.
Ankara’s chief prosecutor attacked the judiciary, members of the justice ministry, the Court of Cassation (Turkey’s top appellate court), and the Council of State (the highest administrative court).
A nefarious, existential threat was recently vanquished by the post-coup censorship offices of Turkish President Erdoğan. No, it was not the PKK, nor ISIS, nor Fethullah Gülen. It was SpongeBob SquarePants and Smurfette, broadcast on a Kurdish Language children’s television network.
The media crackdown in the aftermath of the failed coup in Turkey has led to closures of dozens of news services and thousands of firings among journalists. Cartoon networks can now become labeled as seditious.
Having seen recent events culminating with the failed coup to oust Turkish leader Erdogan and the onset of his Orwellian crackdown against the judiciary, academics and any others perceived to be a threat to his increasingly autocratic rule, the time has come for the United States and subsequently the NATO alliance to reconsider whether Turkey is stable enough to host a nuclear stockpile.
New Yorker Magazine, quoting Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, Incirlik Airbase holds about fifty B-61 thermonuclear bombs–more than twenty-five percent of the nuclear weapons in the NATO stockpile. The dial-a-yield of these bombs can be adjusted from 0.3 kilotons to as many as one hundred seventy kilotons. For comparison, the yield of the Little Boy device that destroyed Hiroshima is estimated at fifteen kilotons.
During the coup attempt, the Turkish government closed Incirlik to all travel and cut off its power, forcing operations command to rely on back-up generators. The base’s commander was temporarily detained. The coup only hastened and to a much greater extent expanded the suppression of civil liberties and dissent.
The Erdogan government accuses dissident Fethullah Gulen, currently living in exile within the United States, of organizing the coup and warned the United States that it would be making a “great mistake” if extradition was not granted.
The dictatorial becoming of Mr. Ergodan should come as a strong worry especially when met with the inevitable backlash against his rule could pose a risk of proliferation if these weapons are not secured.
Free speech rights in Germany took another worrying turn for the worse when German Chancellor Angela Merkel personally approved an investigation of a German citizen accused of insulting Turkey’s President Recep Erdoğan, a world leader personally responsible for the erosion of free speech in this NATO member state.
The timing and enthusiasm, despite proffers to the contrary, of the German government’s persecution of satirist Jan Böhmermann for his broadcast of a poem critical of President Erdoğan coincides directly with the German Government trying to reach a re-settlement agreement with Turkey to address the refugee crisis besieging many European nations–a situation politically damaging to Merkel’s image.
We featured numerous articles relating to President Erdoğan’s attacks on newspapers, individuals, internationals, and any critics of him who are within reach of this grasp, citing a bizarre form of Lèse majesté laws as justification. Now, Merkel is demonstrating a willingness to use a rather dusty remnant of such a statute in Germany as a tool to preserve the ego of a foreign head of state, to accomplish a domestic political goal.
Three weeks ago, we featured an article describing the plight of dozens of academics who faced arrest after signing a peace petition. These advocates were declared enemies of the Republic of Turkey. Now President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government will put on trial a Turkish professor who placed onto an exam questions referencing PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan.
Ankara University professor Resat Baris Unlu faces charges for spreading “terrorist propaganda” after presenting his students a question comparing two documents written by the founder of the proscribed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) who is currently serving a life sentence.
In an injustice to both the liberty of a Kurdish man and free speech in general a court in Turkey handed down thirteen year sentence to a defendant accused of removing a Turkish flag at a military base near Diyarbakir, Turkey. The disproportionate sentence followed an outraged Recep Erdogan who declared after the act, “[w]e don’t care if he is a child. Even if a child dares to take down our sacred flag both him and those who send him there will pay a price.”
The bizarre world that churns inside Turkish President Recep Erdogan’s presidential palace reached a new zenith with the unveiling of surveillance control rooms inside, giving him unprecedented ability to personally spy on seventy seven million Turkish citizens. In a feat of technical engineering rivaling that of George Orwell’s Big Brother, the president will certainly enjoy the spectacle of his new spyglass.
According to Al-Monitor, the system has 143 displays that allow President Erdogan to tap into closed-circuit television systems in the streets of eighty one of Turkey’s provinces along with its government’s Mobile Electronic System Integration (MOBESE) and those used in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).
With the system about to become live, Erdogan will now be able to personally watch all public demonstrations, city life, military and police operations, and other events he finds of concern.
We have been following the gradual erosion of Turkey as a symbol of secularism in the Islamic world under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan was elected by Muslim parties and has steadily broken down secular traditions and introduced more and more Islamic influences in government. That effort has now reached the schools, where Erdogan and his party faithful are seeking to turn schools into training grounds for Islamic orthodoxy. The story below discusses the impact of new rules on Christian Pastor Ahmet Guvener who has learned that, even after securing an exemption for his daughter from mandatory religious classes at her school, she is still required to make Islamic classes in the new Turkey being shaped by Erdogan. If she does not learn Islamic courses on the life of Mohammad or the Quran, she will fail. Erdogan calls it all part of his stated goal of raising “pious generations.”
BBC News is reporting legislation is now going into effect that would expand the authority of secret police agencies and offer further immunities to its agents while at the same time proscribing punishments of up to ten years imprisonment for journalists who publish what the government considers secret information.
Opponents to Prime Minister Recep Erdogan charge that the measures were enacted to boost his authority and power and to facilitate his will to stifle evidence of his various acts of corruption.
The new law extends the ability of secret service agents to conduct foreign operations, tap phone conversations and to access data held by private and public institutions
We recently reported of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan’s effort to silence the social media service Twitter to repress dissent within Turkey. HERE. Now, the courts in Turkey are beginning to reverse some of these efforts. Turkish Twitter users are expected to regain access to the microblogging platform after a local court issued a stay of execution on last week’s decision by a local telecommunications authority to ban the website.
According to some local media reports, the ban will be lifted as soon as the administrative court in Ankara informs Turkey’s Telecommunications Authority of the ruling.
In a first official remark, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arinç said the Turkish government would implement the court ruling. “We will implement the court’s decision. We might not like the court decision, but we will carry it out,” he told reporters.
The continuing cat and mouse game between the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Turkish users of the social networking site Twitter shows the desire for control of information and the historical drive to circumvent it.
After pledging to “wipe out Twitter,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ordered Turkish ISPs to block the social networking site, redirecting requests to a government webpage. But that move, which used a change in the Domain Name Service hosted by network providers in Turkey, was quickly circumvented by Twitter users through the use of alternative DNS servers. DNS servers basically match domain names such as example.com with their core Internet Protocol Addresses for which websites are addressed under the surface to most users. By controlling the DNS servers in Turkey by forced banning of the twitter.com name, Turkish DNS servers redirect traffic to an IP address of a government website rather than the official twitter.com website.The social media campaign against Erdoğan has continued to grow despite the government’s best effort, and even more Turks are flocking to Twitter as a result of the federal censorship. Immediately following the ban, Twitter usage in Turkey rose 138 percent. Continue reading “Turkish Government Strengthens Its Effort To Ban Twitter”→
With many reports becoming all to familiar with state sponsored censorship of internet traffic users in these nations are engaged in a cat and mouse game with a government that is showing increasing levels of sophistication and legislative muscle. The tactics often used include filtering objectionable material, firewalling targeted IP addresses, tracing data back to individuals and sanctioning those individuals, and creating a system of fear generally in which the public is dissuaded into engaging in free speech.
The common element in these electronic censorship measures is that the government controls access via the physical structure of the network. They are able to do this through land based infrastructure. But what if these physical vulnerabilities to free speech and press were removed and instead replaced with broadcast satellite systems that are immune from filtering and geo-locating individuals? Continue reading “Satellites As A Free Speech Tool”→