Tag: Turkey

Slice of Tosh tellies might go to Turkey

Turkey’s Vestel is in talks to buy the television unit of Japan’s troubled Toshiba.

An unnamed official for the Turkish maker of electronics and home appliances has confirmed that his company has put in a bid for cash strapped Tosh’s telly business.

Tosh needs the cash. Toshiba, a televisions-to-construction conglomerate expects to book a net loss of about $9 billion for the year that ended in March, due to a writedown related to cost overruns at its US nuclear unit Westinghouse that recently went bankrupt.

It has already said that it will flog off its profit making chip business, but no one really expected its tellies to go Turkish, or that it could find a buyer for its TV business.

Vestel last year signed a five-year agreement with Toshiba, giving it the right to produce and sell televisions under the Toshiba brand in Europe. It is not clear if the Toshiba brand in Europe will get the works, if the deal goes ahead that will be no-body’s business but the Turks.


Turkey tries to stuff Wikileaks as it does something useful

turkey_with_apples_-_croppedrszTurkey’s Internet watchdog has blocked access to the WikiLeaks website in Turkey, it said, after the whistleblower organisation released nearly 300,000 emails from the ruling AK Party.

The Telecommunications Communications Board said on Wednesday that an “administrative measure” had been taken against the website – the term it commonly uses when blocking access to sites.

All emails are attributed to “akparti.org.tr”, the primary domain of the main political force in the country, and cover a period from 2010 up until July 6, 2016, just a week before the failed military coup.

The Turkish supporters of President Erdogan are believed to have tried to break the Wikileaks site with a huge DoS attack to prevent the information getting out. So far Wikileaks thinks they have managed to have beat the attack off.

The government of Turkey is continuing its massive crackdown following a failed coup attempt during which more than 200 people lost their lives as fractions of the armed forces attempted to seize control of several key places in the cities of Ankara and Istanbul. Over 1,400 were injured over the course of armed clashes.

In the wake of the failed takeover, thousands have been detained or lost their posts across the judiciary, military, interior ministry and civil service sectors. This includes teachers and university professors because Turks under Erdogan don’t need no education .

Wikileaks has not been doing that much lately other than trying to increase the profile of its leader Julian Assange, who is still sitting in a London embassy because he refuses to answer questions from Swedish authorities about an alleged sex offence. Because of its “Assange orientation” Wikileaks has been basically subverted and eclipsed by leaks from Edward Snowden.

It is not clear what material Wikileaks has its paws on. However other leaks about Erdogan’s government have shown widescale corruption at the highest levels. Erdogan has done his best to block such information being released.


Turkey arrests hacks for using encryption

Two UK journalists working for VICE, and their driver, have been arrested in Turkey and charged with terrorism after coppers found an encryption system on one of their PCs.

Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury and their Turkish-based Iraqi minder were in Diyarbakir while filming clashes between security forces and youth members of the outlawed and armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

According to the Turks one of the men was using an encryption system on his personal computer which is often used by the Islamic State death cult.

The Turkish official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Al Jazeera: “The main issue seems to be that the fixer uses a complex encryption system on his personal computer that a lot of ISIL militants also utilise for strategic communications.”

However Tahir Elci, the head of the Diyarbakir lawyers association, said: “I find it ridiculous that they were taken into custody. I don’t believe there is any accuracy to what they are charged for.

“To me, it seems like an attempt by the government to get international journalists away from the area of conflict.”

Kevin Sutcliffe, Vice head of news programming for Europe, said that the judge “has levelled baseless and alarmingly false charges of ‘working on behalf of a terrorist organisation’ against three Vice News reporters, in an attempt to intimidate and censor their coverage.

“Vice News condemns in the strongest possible terms the Turkish government’s attempts to silence our reporters who have been providing vital coverage from the region.


4G gets the works except the Turks

istanbul-2The only former world empire to be named after a piece of furniture has decided to give 4G technology a miss.

The once “sick man of Europe” Turkey is debating cancelling a May tender for 4G telecoms infrastructure and moving to 5G instead.

President Tayyip Erdogan urged the country not to “lose time” with the technology and move straight to 5G.

Erdogan last week called for a move to fifth-generation mobile networks, within two years, skipping the current 4G technology.

However more cynical observers say that this is Erdogan trying to put positive spin on a disastrous tender process. The process was supposed to finish in May and if it is like any other big Turkish contract it will be full of stories of bribery, corruption and inefficiency. If something has gone wrong then axing the 4G move might bury a scandal before it is made public.

The Information and Communication Technologies Authority this month set a May 26 deadline for a 4G tender for 20 frequency segments at a minimum value of around $2.5 billion.

Officials have previously said 4G services would be offered from the start of 2016.

Turkey lifts YouTube Ban

Hagia-SophiaTurkey has lifted a ban on YouTube that followed a court ordering the video-sharing service to remove images of a prosecutor held at gunpoint by far-left terrorists.

YouTube and Twitter were inaccessible from Turkey for hours on Monday, although the ban on Twitter lifted late in the evening.

The prosecutor seen in the pictures, Mehmet Selim Kiraz, was later killed in a shoot-out between his hostage takers and police last week.

A spokesman for President Tayyip Erdogan said a prosecutor had demanded the bans because some media organisations had acted “as if they were spreading terrorist propaganda” in sharing the images of the hostage-taking.

It claimed it was upset because the media was using a picture of the terrorists holding a gun to Kiraz’s head, which was upsetting to the dead man’s family.

Facebook said it had restricted access to some content as instructed and a company spokesman said it would appeal the order.

In the end everyone did what they were told and the ban was lifted.

The Turkish government is not a fan of social media platforms. Last year, just before the local elections, access to Twitter and YouTube were also banned.

The then prime minister, now President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said that Twitter was a menace to society.

YouTube online again in Turkey

YouTube is online in Turkey again and may be allowed to show whistleblowing videos which embarrass the government.

Turkey’s top court declared a government ban on YouTube unconstitutional, and cited the Turkish constitution’s freedom of expression clause, which guarantees that “everyone has the right to express and disseminate his/her thoughts and opinions by speech, in writing or in pictures or through other media”.

The administration of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan went after the site on March 27, after it was used to host a leaked audio recording of Turkish officials discussing security matters in Syria.

Erdogan’s ban on Twitter fell flat just two weeks after he imposed it on March 20, and while YouTube is once again accessible, Turkey’s Telecommunications Directorate (TIB) has refused to lift web restrictions.

When a lower court told the government to sling its hook, the government just ignored it. It is not clear if the government will ignore the Constitutional Court’s appellate decision.

TIB has so far insisted that it had no plans to unblock the site for as long as it contains “criminal content” which is anything that says that Erdogan and his party are involved in anything shady.

It seems that the TIB has blinked, probably because the election is over and if Turks saw anything about government corruption it was clear they did not give a monkey’s about it. After all Erdogan was re-elected. 

Twitter surrenders to the Turks

It appears that Twitter has crumbled before the Turkish government and will censor any allegation of corruption which appears on the site.

According to a senior government official, Twitter will be more sensitive in responding to Turkish court orders calling for content to be removed from the site, and will open a live customer support service in Turkish to address complaints.

Apparently the talks were held in Dublin on Tuesday and Wednesday to iron out their differences. Under the deal Twitter will set up a live customer support service soon which will speed up cases like breaching privacy rights the Turkish official told Reuters.

Privacy rights is code for any corruption allegations against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s inner circle and family.

The Turkish government blocked both Twitter and YouTube in the approach to local elections after audiotapes purportedly uncovering corruption in Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s inner circle were leaked onto the social media sites.

Erdogan has consistently dismissed the leaked recordings as a fabrication, and part of a plot to unseat him.

The Twitter block was lifted at the beginning of April after the constitutional court ruled that it breached freedom of expression. Erdogan was furious. YouTube remains partially inaccessible to Turkish users.

According to the Turkish official, no agreement has been reached regarding the government’s request for Twitter to open an office in the country. 

Twitter lets Turks censor it

It looks like Twitter has given up trying to fight the Turkish government and will ban citizens from talking about government corruption.

In the run up to the elections, the Turkish government did its best to stop its citizens from using Twitter to discuss a government corruption scandal. This ended up with Twitter being switched off in Turkey.

Unfortunately for Free Speech, the government won the election which followed the scandal, which means that Turks expect their politicians to steal their money and don’t care. This means that the government can safely tell Twitter that if it wants to continue to make money in the nation which bought the world carpets, smoking hookahs and Turkish delight, it is going to have to toe the line.

The government has been working directly with Twitter to resolve “the issue” of inconvenient tweets.

According to the Turkish press, the Turks are likely able to ban or filter certain tweets from ever appearing via a filtering system that seeks out ‘malicious content’.

This would lead to the banning of certain Turkish phrases on Twitter and the death of at least two accounts that have been disseminating anti-government materials.

For the Turkish Government suppressing Tweets rather than trying to block Twitter is a much better way of keeping its citizens passive.

The Turks have managed to avoid social media being a tool to overthrow an increasingly autocratic government by being, er more autocratic.

What is a little more alarming though is that Twitter is helping a government that seeks to silence its people. The social notworking tool was instrumental in removing governments in Egypt and Tunisia but now it seems those days are gone. 

Turkish PM guns for Twitter again

Emboldened by an election result which indicates that most Turks don’t care if his government is corrupt, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan slammed a constitutional court ruling lifting a ban on Twitter.

Erdogan is currently purging the state of anyone who disagrees with him and it is quite possible that the constitutional court will be on his list.

He said that the court should have rejected an application to restore access to the micro-blogging site.

Erdogan told reporters at a news conference before departing on a trip to Azerbaijan that the government had complied with the ruling but he did not respect it.

Twitter’s appeal should have been rejected on procedural grounds.

Access to Twitter was blocked on March 21 in the run-up to local elections and Turkey’s telecoms authority lifted the two-week-old ban on Thursday after the court ruled the block breached freedom of expression.

Erdogan wanted Twitter off line so that opposition groups would stop using it to point out a corruption scandal involving him and his ministers. He had managed to silence the press, but could not stop people chatting about it on Twitter.

Fortunately, for Erdogan, whose electoral base is in the less well-connected poorer regions of Turkey, his voters did not really care if his trotters were in the trough and he did well in the elections.

Ironically that means that for him to be incredibly popular all he as to do is be nicer to the well educated parts of Turkey and allow more free speech and he should have a happy country. He probably feels this is “too easy”.

Turkey’s Twitter ban is illegal

Less than a week after the Turkish government banned Twitter over failing to remove allegations of government corruption from the social network, a Turkish court ruled that the ban was “illegal”.

This is bad news for the government which has been trying to silence Twitter from talking about a government corruption scandal so close to the elections.

Users in Turkey are expected to have their access to Twitter restored—as soon as the court’s stay of execution reaches Turkey’s telecommunication authority (TIB).

The ban happened after anonymous audio recordings on Twitter alleged corruption inside the Turkish government.

Even when the Twitter ban was in place, Turks used Twitter by using virtual private networks (VPNs) and programs like Tor that use cryptography to mask a computer’s location.

Last week’s ban was based on three court orders that instructed Twitter to remove content from the site, which the company says were not provided prior to the blackout. Twitter said it complied with two of the three requests from the Turkish government.

The third order stifled political speech, which is why Twitter petitioned the Turkish court on behalf of users to reverse it. Twitter also used a “Country Withheld Content” tool that blocked Twitter accounts in Turkey while leaving them visible to the rest of the world.

Word on the super information strasse is that the government plans to appeal the ruling to keep the ban active until after the election.