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RedHackers daunt the Erdogan family

The alleged hacking of email accounts belonging to Berat Albayrak, the son-in-law of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, validates deep-rooted suspicions of AKP corruption, media censorship and intricate intra-AKP rivalries.
Turkey's Energy Minister Berat Albayrak addresses the media in Ankara, Turkey July 27, 2016. REUTERS/Umit Bektas  - RTSJWB9

On Sept. 23, RedHack, a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist computer hacking group, announced that they hacked into Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-law’s email accounts. Berat Albayrak is not only Erdogan’s eldest son-in-law, but he is also Turkey's energy and natural resources minister. RedHack demanded that Asli Erdogan, an author and human rights activist, and other imprisoned left-wing activists be released by Sept. 25 or they would release the emails to the public.

Introducing themselves as one of the world’s oldest “hacktivist groups,” established in 1997, RedHack is older than its global counterpart, Anonymous. Their activities are considered criminal according to Turkish law. Yet they have some public support. In a documentary, they explain some of their hacking activities as standing by the “oppressed against the oppressor.” Scholars in this documentary pose the question, “If RedHack is criminal, why does a generation consider the group as a hero?” It seems their operations are diverse enough to convince the public they are not after personal gain, but are rather taking risks to protect public interest. For example, in April 2012 when then-Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin ridiculed a citizen to do cartwheels to show his appreciation, RedHack replied by taking over the ministry’s website telling Sahin it was his turn to do cartwheels for the public. They have openly challenged the Gulen movement multiple times and hacked into their webpages. RedHack carried out bold acts as well: In 2005, they hacked the police’s webpage and erased all unprocessed traffic tickets, and in 2013, they erased the debts people owed to governmental entities.

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