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Internet disruption causes chaos in southeast Turkey

A day after the co-mayors of Diyarbakir were detained, internet communications in 15 eastern and southeastern provinces were cut off, paralyzing the health, commerce and service sectors.
Protesters hold signs and wave flags as they demonstrate against new controls on the Internet approved by the Turkish parliament in Ankara February 22, 2014. The signs read, ''Internet of Doomsday!", "It is impossible to sensor the streets!" and "You can have your own media but you can't get the streets''. REUTERS/Umit Bektas (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW) - RTX19AYE

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey — I was in a clothing shop on the main street of Yenisehir district when a customer came in. After he finished shopping, he went to the cashier and wanted to pay with his credit card. The cashier apologized, saying she could not perform the transaction because the internet was down. The customer walked out visibly upset; sales personnel were also disappointed. Similar disruptions were reported from many businesses that rely on internet communications.

Internet disruptions began a few hours after the detentions Oct. 26 of the co-mayors of Diyarbakir metropolitan municipality, Gultan Kisanak and Firat Anli. First we thought it was a local problem that usually doesn’t last long. Internet browser administrators said they had a technical problem. But as time passed, we learned the problem was not confined to Diyarbakir but covered many provinces of east and southeast Turkey. Nobody believed that a technical mishap would disrupt internet service in such a large area, and there must be something else behind it. Many believed that the internet was cut off to prevent the organization of protest actions against the detention of the co-mayors.

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