Edited time: June 02, 2013 23:11
A demonstrator wears a Guy Fawkes mask as protestors clash with Turkish riot policemen during a protest against the demolition of the Taksim Gezi Park, in Taksim Square, in Istanbul (AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic)
The hacktivist group Anonymous have taken down the Turkish President’s website, along with that of the country’s ruling party, as operation #OpTurkey kicks off in support of the anti-government protests that have entered their fourth day.
As of 22:40 GMT, the website of President Abdullah Gul has been offline, together with the website of the country’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the websites for the Istanbul Directorate of Security and the Istanbul Governor’s Office.
The hacktivists earlier targeted municipal governments in Mersin and Izmir.
The operation was kicked off in response to the police crackdown of protests which have taken the country by storm. The Gebze Institute of Technology has also come under digital fire.
Following the rumors that the government limited access to the Internet Anonymous has started tweeting passwords to free access to a VPN – virtual private network that connects computers and devices in one network, allowing information to be shared.
The hacktivist group also claimed that pro-government hackers are attacking Turkish news websites.
Decrying the reaction of Turkish authorities to the ongoing protests as those of a “petty dictator,” Anonymous vows to kick off a worldwide action which will “bring the Turkish government to its knees.”
With #opTurkey, the hacktivist collective plans to “attack every Internet and communications asset of the Turkish government.”
“You have censored social media and other communications of your people in order to suppress the knowledge of your crimes against them,” the collective alleges. “Now Anonymous will shut you down and your own people will warn you from power.”
Although rumors that the Turkish authorities have been blocking Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets throughout the country since Saturday remain unconfirmed, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made no effort to hide his disaffection for the communication medium.
Turkey’s PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan has lashed out at the role of social media in helping organize and co-ordinate rallies, after the wave of large-scale protests that gripped the country.
“There is now a menace which is called Twitter,” Erdogan said in an interview for Haberturk Sunday evening. “The best examples of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society.”
Turkey has been gripped with mass demonstrations for the past three days. The ongoing rallies started with protests on Friday against the refurbishment of Istanbul’s Taksim Square, where the authorities plan to build a shopping center in place of a park. However, the protests unfolded into anti-government demonstrations with thousands gathering all over the country. Riot police used ‘excessive force,’ officials admitted, to disperse the crowds with tear gas and water cannon. There have been about 1700 people reportedly arrested. Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday stressed he “will not seek permission from marauders” to implement his building plans. He is also reported to have called the social network Twitter ‘a trouble maker’, according to local media, blaming it for misinforming people.