Turkey shuts off internet service in 11 Kurdish cities

The shutdown affects 6 million citizens and comes amid protests over the detention of one city's mayors, Turkey Blocks reports.


The Turkish government has cut off mobile and landline internet access to 11 cities in the country's southeast, a region that is predominantly Kurdish, Turkey Blocks reports. Kurds are the largest ethnic minority in Turkey, composing roughly 20 percent of the population, and the country has a history of committing human rights abuses against this population. The latest internet shutdown is now in its second day, and it comes amid protests over the detention of Gültan Kışanak and Fırat Anlı, the mayor and co-mayor of Diyarbakir. The two are being held on terrorism charges.

Internet service was restored briefly yesterday, leading to an outpouring of photographs and videos showing the protests and security forces using violence against people on the streets. Cities affected by the internet shutdown are Diyarbakır, Mardin, Batman, Siirt, Van, Elazığ, Tunceli, Gaziantep, Şanlıfurfa, Kilis and Adıyaman, Turkey Blocks reports.

Turkey has a history of blocking or limiting internet access, espeically in Kurdish regions and areas of political or social unrest. The United Nations Human Rights Council in July officially condemned the disruption of internet access, noting, "The same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular freedom of expression."