Internet shutdown in Turkey’s Southeast following mayor’s detention

A full internet shutdown lasting almost 12 hours has cut off Turkey’s Southeast regions, following protests against the detention of Diyarbakir mayor and co-mayor Gültan Kışanak and Fırat Anlı on terrorism charges.

Update: Further blackouts detected; internet censored again amidst continuing unrest

Connectivity issues began at 10:30AM local time affecting cities including Diyarbakır, Mardin, Batman, Siirt, Van, Elazığ, Tunceli, Gaziantep, Şanlıfurfa, Kilis and Adıyaman. Internet connectivity started coming back at 10:00PM.

Limited information coming from the region indicates that banks and point-of-sales terminals have all been rendered inoperable due to mobile and broadband internet shutdowns, with the incident ongoing as of early afternoon.

The incident bears similarities to another internet blackout in the south earlier this year following the state’s removal of elected officials in predominantly Kurdish regions of the country.

Internet restrictions are increasingly being used in Turkey to suppress media coverage of political incidents, a form of censorship purportedly to prevent civil unrest. Regional blackouts are a rare, but severe form of shutdown that affect a wide range of digital communication services.

The blackout has affected both fixed and mobile internet operators, although basic SMS and voice services remained usable. Shutdown reports were verified by TurkeyBlocks researchers using network reachability scans.