Protests in Turkey: Dispatch 4

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The death of Berkin Elvan, a 15 year old boy who was put into a coma after being hit by a tear gas canister in last year’s anti-government rallies, prompted large-scale scale protests in Istanbul over the past two weeks. Violence between the Turkish police and protestors was worst in Elvan’s neighborhood of Okmeydan. It was there that we first encountered the Turkish government’s policy of media censorship. Turkey jails the most journalists of any country in the world, and they’ve expanded the scope of this censorship in the week leading up to their local elections. Both Twitter and YouTube were banned this week, along with Google DNS and OpenDNS. Prime Minister Erdogan has threatened to also shut down Facebook, and there are rumors that Istanbul’s internet will be blocked on election day. The bans come in response to a series of leaked audio recordings that implicate the Prime Minister in a corruption scandal serious enough to threaten his political party, the AKP, in Sunday’s elections.

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