Turkey Bans VPNs Ahead of Elections

Tyler Cross
Tyler Cross Senior Writer
Tyler Cross Tyler Cross Senior Writer

Turkey has banned VPNs ahead of national elections in March. The country already restricts its citizens from accessing certain sites on the internet, including news sites. To bypass this censorship, many citizens use a VPN, which allows users to connect to servers in a different country to access an unfettered internet.

Turkey maintains a full ban on news sites that are critical of its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and news sites owned by opposition parties.

“Access to at least 35,066 domain names, 3,196 news articles, 2,090 social media posts, and 184 social media accounts were blocked in 2022,” writes the Media and Law Studies Association.

“Censorship is widespread, and hundreds of websites, online articles, and social media posts have been blocked or removed,” reads a report by Freedom House, a US-based nonprofit that promotes democracy.

A VPN could be used to easily bypass these restrictions, which is unfortunately why they were on the chopping block for a complete ban. The ban comes just before an important election in Turkey, signaling that it was passed for political reasons. News outlets have reported that more than 12 VPNs have been banned, including Proton VPN and TunnelBear.

“President Erdoğan and the AKP, which have ruled Turkey since 2002, have become increasingly authoritarian in recent years, consolidating significant power through constitutional changes and by imprisoning opponents and critics,” reads the Freedom House report.

These bans also continue to grant power to consolidated companies in Turkey.

“Internet pricing in Turkey remains high due to the market concentration in broadband services that have led to high costs, low wages, and high inflation.”

Overall, the VPN ban just before an election may not be surprising, but it’s still a notable setback for protestors of internet censorship. Turkey’s Justice and Development Party may be consolidating more power by restricting its citizens’ freedom.

About the Author
Tyler Cross
Tyler Cross
Senior Writer

About the Author

Tyler is a writer at SafetyDetectives with a passion for researching all things tech and cybersecurity. Prior to joining the SafetyDetectives team, he worked with cybersecurity products hands-on for more than five years, including password managers, antiviruses, and VPNs and learned everything about their use cases and function. When he isn't working as a "SafetyDetective", he enjoys studying history, researching investment opportunities, writing novels, and playing Dungeons and Dragons with friends."

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