Turkey has announced a major investigation in to 10,000 accounts on social media that are thought to be linked to terrorism. The government is known for its heavy handed approach to internet access in the country, after access to social media has been blocked on several occasions. These mostly happen around bombing, and are in place to stop jihadists from communicating.
The websites have been blocked this week after a video that was released by ISIS showed two Turkish soldiers being burned alive. It was also blocked after the shooting of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey by an off duty police officer earlier in the week.
Turkey has often been slammed for these actions, which many inside and outside the country have claimed are repressive. Turkey has a dark history with human rights, and has often used security as an excuse to restrict citizens rights. This is one of the factors that have ensured that so far they’ve been excluded from their ultimate political goal of joining the European Union.
The authorities in the country have held over 3,000 people for questioning in the last six months alone, of those over 1,500 have been charged. The crackdown has also been stretched out to include media outlets and journalists. Many critics have said that the use of emergency powers in the country has allowed the government to tighten its grip over what enters the media.
The pressure in the country has only intensified in recent times, as Turkey has taken on many refugees from war torn Syria. There’s also been an increase in ISIS bombings in the country. Add these to a recent military coup attempt, and the country is the tinder box that you would expect it to be. This is a potential nightmare for their potential counterparts in Europe. As allowing Turkey in to the European Union would meaning opening Europe up to the possibility of allowing the Turkish situation to spill out across borders.
All this adds to the growing pressure on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Who’s been heavily criticised by the wider world due to his heavy use of the emergency powers and attempted suppression of the media. Though he may indeed get his wish to join the European Union, as Turkey has a silver bullet in its ability to either hold or release the large swarm of refugees from Syria. The threat of this swarm moving may be enough that EU leaders feel the need to assist Turkey as much as possible.
Joseph is a 34 year old freelance writer from London. He has a wide interest in politics and specialises in the subject. He's also a blog writer in his spare time.