New internet shutdown in Turkey’s Southeast: 8% of country now offline amidst Diyarbakir unrest

A second full internet shutdown has cut off 6 million citizens in Turkey’s Southeast regions according to network reachability analysis, following yesterday’s incident that shut off much of the country.

The blocks, coming amidst protests against the detention of Diyarbakir mayor and co-mayor Gültan Kışanak and Fırat Anlı on terrorism charges, are unprecedented in recent years.

Affected cities yesterday included Diyarbakır, Mardin, Batman, Siirt, Van, Elazığ, Tunceli, Gaziantep, Şanlıfurfa, Kilis and Adıyaman.

Citizens were reported to have driven hundreds of kilometres to gain internet access and post Facebook or Twitter updates.

Photographs and videos of alleged human rights violations emerged yesterday evening when internet access was restored for a number of hours.

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.

TurkeyBlocks network analysis, initial findings:
  8:00AM Thursday 27 October
  Scans detect 8% of Turkey's internet infrastructure to be unreachable
  Estimated 6 million citizens affected including those disconnected and others experiencing related loss of service

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 deployed at short notice 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.

Update: Internet connectivity shutdowns have been further observed for six consecutive days up to 31 October 2016 in Diyarbakir, although the wider regions were affected only on the 26th and 27th.