It is quite common to witness Internet shut offs and site blocks in Turkey, especially under President Erdogan’s reign. The popular internet shutdowns are monitored under the TurkeyBlocks project which is a non-partisan digital transparency project. The censorships done not only restrict the freedom of expression for citizens but also blocks free flow of information. As of today,  TurkeyBlocks has targeted Tor anonymity network and browser. Tor’s direct access has been blocked throughout the region majorly due to its  free availability and resilience.

Tor is an open network defending against traffic analysis, which became quite popular in Turkey. It is particularly used to circumvent censorship by its users. Further, it is used for protecting communications from irresponsible incorporates, for keeping websites from tracking, for connecting to news sites and to communicate in regard to socially sensitive issues.

The censorship is public for direct access which means you can still use some services via Tor bridges. The bridges viable include obfs3 and obfs4. Though it is seen that these bridges are also being downgraded by service providers in compilation of recent degradation of commercial VPN service traffic.

TurkeyBlocks commented upon the same in a press release as,

New, sophisticated blocking measures mean Internet users will no longer be easily able to circumvent social media shutdowns and other mass-censorship events in Turkey as they have become accustomed to over recent years.

Internet users in Turkey increasingly resort to VPNs and Tor to circumvent both kinds of censorship, allowing them, for example, to access independent sources of information and seek assistance in the minutes and hours following terror attacks.

Earlier in October’16, the project had banned mobile and landline internet access in 11 cities in Turkey. The major shutdown affected 6 million citizens and resulted in major protests. The new measures would be absolute in coming times and hence dismiss the media freedom and freedom of expression and opinion for citizens.

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