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Turkey Blocks WikiLeaks After Dump of Government Emails

WikiLeaks had published emails from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s party AKP.
A military coup attempt in Istanbul in July.Image: deepspace/Shutterstock

Turkey has blocked access to WikiLeaks after the whistleblowing platform published what it claimed were emails from Turkey's ruling political party, according to censorship group Turkey Blocks.

When accessed from Turkey, the website now reads, "After technical analysis and legal consideration based on the Law No. 5651, ADMINISTRATIVE MEASURE has been taken for this website," according to a tweet from WikiLeaks.


Erdogan government officially orders WikiLeaks to be blocked after publishing 300k emails from his party, AKP
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) July 20, 2016

On Tuesday, WikiLeaks released 294,548 apparent emails from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's party AKP, or the Justice and Development Party. According to WikiLeaks, the emails date back to 2010 and up to July 6 of this year.

Last week, the Turkish government faced an attempted military coup. It ultimately failed, and around 50,000 soldiers, police, judges and teachers have since been suspended or detained, Reuters reports.

"The material was obtained a week before the attempted coup. However, WikiLeaks has moved forward its publication schedule in response to the government's post-coup purges," WikiLeaks' website reads. Before publishing the AKP emails, WikiLeaks claimed that its infrastructure was "under sustained attack."

Our infrastructure is under sustained attack. #TurkeyPurge #Turkey
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) July 18, 2016

Turkey is infamous for cracking down on social media during times of protest or other political events. In February, Turkey attempted to censor another publishing platform when UK-based activist Thomas White, otherwise known as The Cthulhu, released a large cache of personal information concerning Turkish police officers. In response, Turkey ordered his site and other material to be blocked. The country also asked Twitter and White's web host to remove specific content, but neither company complied.

"Turkey [has] a mildly naive way of dealing with entities they consider a threat," White told Motherboard in an online chat.

"Since Turkey blocked me on most outlets and labelled me a terrorist, I receive dozens of emails a week saying the Turkish people support me and want to help spread word of the wrongdoing of their government. I suppose I should thank them for the publicity, because their censorship seems juxtaposed with it's intended purpose," he continued.

As WikiLeaks points out, those connecting from Turkey can still view the emails, either by using a VPN to re-route their traffic, or by entering any of WikiLeaks' IP addresses directly into their browser.

Erin Cunningham, a Washington Post correspondent based in Istanbul, pointed out on Twitter that a lot of the emails contain spam. Indeed, as WikiLeaks says on its website, "It should be noted that emails associated with the domain are mostly used for dealing with the world, as opposed to the most sensitive internal matters."