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Turkey Block and Unblock Reddit with no Clear Explanation

Tech Times
On the 13th of November, Reddit was blocked in Turkey. Then on Sunday, it was back up again. I guess you could say this barely qualifies as news. Well, you'd be wrong (but well referenced). It would be a throwaway story, if we had even the faintest idea why Turkey did this, which turns this into something of an enigma wrapped in a riddle wrapped in a flatbread. A flatbread baked from online controversy. Filled with the lamb of censorship. Sorry, I'll stop now.

What we do know is that the banning related to the Turkish internet law 5651, which sounds like something out of Ghost in the Shell, but actually relates to any suspected 'scandalous' content. Porn, for example, is technically illegal in Turkey, but this can also apply to piracy or, crucially, criticisms of the Turkish president - Mustafa Ataturk. Now, given that this law has been in effect since 2007, and Reddit has never been taken down before, it could be suggested that the third thing is the most likely cause. I'm not suggesting that, but I definitely am.

Last year, making use of the same law, Turkey blocked Twitter, after the previous president pledged to 'root out' social media users who were leaking information gained from illegal wiretapping. In that case everything was a bit murky, but Twitter was more a conduit for the dissension, rather than any kind of direct cause. It may not have been the same story with Reddit.

Even for the brief time that Reddit was down, the block wasn't difficult to get around, a quick change of DNS settings easily resolved the issue, or the use of a VPN to change and/or mask the local IP address. Virtually no country on the planet is savvy enough to truly, universally block websites, except North Korea, but they do that by just not letting anyone use the internet at all.

Typically when something that appears on Reddit that makes waves, the offended nation will put in a request for that portion of the site to be blocked, which Reddit will then announce, as they have done with Russia on a few occasions, but there's been no evidence of this happening here, which makes you wonder whether anyone from the Turkish government actually spoke to Reddit before it was blocked. Turkey haven't offered any kind of statement on it as yet, nor is there any guarantee that they well, but it certainly makes you wonder.



Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF


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Turkey Block and Unblock Reddit with no Clear Explanation Reviewed by Callum Davies on Friday, November 20, 2015 Rating: 5

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