The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, continues to escalate an unprecedented clampdown on opposition voices in the country.

  • Tens of thousands of people have been arrested, fired or detained
  • Media outlets have been shut down
  • Newspaper editors have been removed
  • VPNs and Tor have been blocked
  • Periodic restrictions on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube websites
  • Periodic restrictions of WhatsApp and Skype

TurkeyBlocks, an independent monitoring organisation has also reported throttling and other forms of censorship, linking the disruptions and blocks to the arrests of pro-Kurdish party leaders.

Last week one of Turkey’s oldest newspapers, Cumhuriyet, vowed to continue to protest against Erdoğan’s rule, despite having at least 12 members of staff arrested, including its editor-in-chief.

After the editor, a cartoonist, and several columnists were arrested, Cumhuriyet’s Tuesday edition ran with the headline “We won’t give in” and left two columns blank, in solidarity with the detained staff.

Below are the specific numbers on censorship in Turkey:

  • 110,000 total number of people fired
  • 24 mayors arrested in the southeast Kurdish region of Turkey
  • 24,000 teachers and Interior Ministry employees fired
  • 163 admirals and generals fired
  • 2,700 judges fired
  • 1,577 university deans forced to resign
  • 170 media outlets shut down

Ironically, Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the government will “protect press freedom until the end”. Yildirim said Turkey will not give in to threats and argued that the issue of media freedom is being used by the EU to try to limit Turkey’s steps in combating terror.

The Turkish government has long been notorious for Internet censorship, all the while citizens have been learning ways to get around it. This latest push seems to be targeted at that, too.

Other countries like Gabon and India are experiencing similar government-backed censorship and Internet blackouts.