Among these censorship measures is the blocking of 16 VPN services without a court order. Popular services like Proton, Surfshark, SuperVPN, and Psiphon are among the VPNs that have been blocked.
VPNs aim to provide users with encrypted and secure internet connections to bypass censorship. It is reported that in Turkey, more than 712,000 websites were blocked in 2022, and the impact of the 2007 Internet Law, which laid the foundation for censorship, continues.
According to digital technology expert Füsun Sarp Nebil, as reported by the German news channel DW, internet censorship has been escalating since 2013, following the Gezi protests and corruption scandals. The government has tightened censorship by amending laws 19 times over the years. Nebil notes that access to critical news is frequently restricted, and prosecutors and judges close to the government often use these laws.
It is indicated that censorship against critical news has increased in the run-up to the upcoming local elections. Criticisms against the ruling AKP party are reportedly being suppressed, and censorship is being employed to prevent candidates from appearing negatively. The government is attempting to control the internet by blocking VPN services, but many citizens are trying to resist these restrictions by using alternative solutions.
According to expert Nebil, the technological blockade serves the purpose of censorship and aims to keep citizens under control. However, since many people in Turkey are familiar with using VPNs, the impact of censorship may be limited. Nebil suggests that if the government believes its tactics are still effective in elections, censorship will persist.