Turkish Implement Twitter Block

The Turkish block of Twitter this week, is such ill conceived madness that it sometimes is hard to comprehend that these guys are politicians who are supposed to understand people.  When they follow the example of dictators like Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and decide the best way to stop people saying bad things about you it to try and stop them talking completely – true genius.

It’s not even as if Turkey has the first idea about how to block access, they’ve been actively filtering the internet for years now and there still using the baby/first steps blocking  technique.  Look around certain places in Istanbul and Izmir for example and you’ll see posters of Erdogan with DNS server addresses pasted all over them.  That’s how the country is blocking the site by rerouting DNS requests, so by switching to another of the many millions of DNS servers available across the planet you can bypass the blocks.

In fact  there are many ways to completely sidestep these restrictions and when you’re Prime Minister has threatened to crush the social networking sites and demonstrate the power of the Turkish Republic, you really need to come up with something better than a very amateurish attempt like this.  In fact it’s looking like Twitter use in Turkey is rocketing after the ban has been implemented – circa 17,000 Tweets from Turkey every minute at time of writing.  I’m afraid it doesn’t make Erdogan look strong or powerful, more like clueless and inept.

Here’s one the many ways you can bypass the Turkish ban on Twitter –

The more the numbers spiral out of control, the more ineffective both the ban looks and also how powerless the leader who implemented it appears.  It also adds your name to the list of others who have attempted to do the same,  hugely successful leaders in places like Iran, Iraz, Egypt, Syria and North Korea.  Of course when we say leaders, the list is actually one of dictators, democratically elected people don’t generally try and repress free speech.  It is widely expected that the Prime Minister is intending to continue his tirade against these sites, so you may need a Facebook unblocker in Turkey as well soon.

The block will only really affect people who don’t use Twitter anyway, and have no real desire to use one of the workaround or use a Turkish Proxy.  Although human nature being what it is, probably many will suddenly sign on to see what they’re not supposed to see.  Many think this could be the beginning of the end for Erdogan, not only has he attempted to repress talk of corruption but he’s done it badly – making himself look completely impotent and powerless in the process.   He also is starting to look as guilty of hell with his rantings of moral outrage at the evil forces of erm Twitter and Facebook.  A great country, with fantastic friendly people for the moment stuck with a dodgy, shifty leader – they deserve better.  Especially  Berkin Elvan, the young boy killed by the Turkish security services firing on protesters, whilst he went to buy bread.

Turkish Internet Censorship – The Future

Turkey has for many years shown a very strong desire to heavily censor the internet.  They have frequently blocked access to many of the major social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and WordPress.  Normally these blocks have been short lived due to public and international pressure.

The recent protests in Turkey though have perhaps given as an insight into the views of their government – with the Prime Minister, Recep Erodogan making this ridiculous quote –

“Social media is the worst menace to society”

Of course if you’re incredibly unpopular and are trying to forcefully implement a religious agenda into a secular country then social media is not likely to be your best friend. The reality is social media is merely a form of communication nothing more and nothing less.

I fear that if the Prime Minister in Turkey continues in power, his aggressive mobilisation of the police against peaceful protesters will be followed soon by some serious ramp up in internet censorship. Two years ago a plan was proposed to impose huge restrictions on Turkish internet users.

The idea was that all users would have to select one of four content filtering packages. These were labelled – family, children, domestic or standard – so basically you chose which amount of filtering was applied to your web browsing. The very worst part was that you would never know to what extent you had agreed as the blocked web sites in each list would not be made public. The web sites would be assigned by the Prime Ministry’s Information Technology Board (BTK) and you can be assured that there would be many thousands of sites in these blocked lists.

Update – There are reports that both Twitter and Facebook have been blocked (03rd June), am going to verify this using my Turkish proxy server.

How to Find a Turkish Proxy

The internet used to be one big happy family, where we could all go to the same websites and see exactly the same. However this is not the case anymore and many web sites block or restrict access based on your location – here’s how you can use a Turkish proxy to access web sites restricted to people in Turkey only.

You might not think there are many sites which only allow access from Turkey like this but you may be surprised, many Turkish banks, TV stations, online newspapers and YouTube videos are accessible only if you have a Turkish IP address. Of course there’s only two ways this can happen –

  1. You’re in Turkey
  2. Using a Turkish Proxy or VPN to hide your real address

Where to find a Turkish Proxy

Now you can find free proxy servers online, but you’ll be struggling to find a Turkish one that isn’t going to infect your PC with malware and allow the administrator to run off with your account details if you try and log in to anything. So you’ll be left with one of the paid VPN or proxy providers, although there’s not many that supply a Turkish server.

The one I use is called Overplay and they have been around for many years. Here’s the interface of the connection program –

Connected via Turkish Proxies
Select a Turkish Proxy

All you do is scroll down the list and select the desired country, in this case Turkey then press connect.  From this point in all your traffic will be encrypted and  routed through the Turkish server and you will appear to be connecting from Istanbul (where the server is located).

You can see from this screen shot now when I visit Google I actually get redirected to the Turkish version –

Turkish Google

When you have finished you merely select deselect, or if you need to access content in another country then connect through a different server.  For example if you’re in Turkey and want to access the BBC Iplayer you would choose a UK server.  If you needed to access some American only sites like Hulu then choose one of the US servers.

It can be a challenge finding Turkish proxies to use however, you won’t find any free ones and some sites charge a lot of money for them. Fortunately for anyone looking for specific proxies like ones from Turkey, then Overplay have the biggest proxy/VPN server network anywhere and they only a charge a small subscription fee to cover all their servers which you can cancel at any time instantly.

I can thoroughly recommend them – Overplay VPN Service.

Edit – after recent events in Turkey from Erdogan thought this might be relevant – Turkish Block Twitter