1,000-room palace for Turkey's President Erdogan will cost twice initial $615M pricetag


The White Palace in Ankara has 1.6m square feet of floorspace, and features thousands of trees imported from Italy at a cost of up to $10,000 each; the taxpayer-footed electricity bill from the palace will run $313K/month.

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Turkey to require pet owners to undergo mandatory certification

Via Reddit, photographer unknown.


Via Reddit, photographer unknown.

Under a new law in Turkey:

Anybody who wants to have a pet at home will need to undergo training. They will also have to provide suitable accommodation for the welfare of the animal, as well as meeting its ethological needs and care for its health. With the new arrangement, sales of all kinds of pets and animals except for fish and birds will be banned in pet shops. Also, prison sentences will be introduced for torture and ill-treatment of animals.
Also, zoophilia gets you 2 years in jail. [hurriyetdailynews.com]

Turkish government blocks Youtube to shut down spread of phone recording in which PM conspires to hide millions from investigators


The Turkish government has doubled down on its Internet censorship program, blocking all of Youtube in addition to its ban on Twitter. Despite theories about the political theatre of blocking Twitter, it seems like Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is also genuinely concerned with suppressing a recording of a conversation with his son in which he conspires to hide the money he is thought to have received through corrupt dealing. As with the Twitter block, this one was undertaken as an administrative order from the PM's office, without judicial oversight. The Twitter ban has since been rescinded by the Turkish courts, but the block may not be lifted before the elections.

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Turkey orders block of Twitter's IP addresses

Just a few days after Turkey's scandal-rocked government banned Twitter by tweaking national DNS settings, the state has doubled down by ordering ISPs to block Twitter's IP addresses, in response to the widespread dissemination of alternative DNS servers, especially Google's 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 (these numbers were even graffitied on walls).

Following the ban, Turkey's Twitter usage grew by 138 percent. Now that Twitter's IP range is blocked, more Turkish Internet users are making use of Tor and VPNs, and they continue to use SMS for access to the service.

It's interesting that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has singled out Twitter for his attacks ("Twitter, schmitter! We will wipe out Twitter. I don’t care what the international community says.") Why not Facebook or Google Plus? I'm not certain, but my hypothesis is that Facebook and Google's "real names" policy -- which make you liable to disconnection from the service if you're caught using an alias -- make them less useful for political dissidents operating in an environment in which they fear reprisals.

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Turks bid farewell to the Internet in the face of brutal censorship/surveillance law

Turkey's brutal new Internet law grants the Turkish Telecommunications Directorate the power to arbitrarily censor Web-pages to the individual URL level, much like the Great Firewall of China -- meaning that specific articles that are critical of the state can be censored while leaving the remainder of the site intact. It criminalizes "harmful" Internet messages and hosting "harmful" content, and requires long-term data-retention by ISPs, meaning the state and police will be able to access records of your entire online activity. It will also mandate the use of deep packet inspection to detect and disrupt technologies for evading censorship and maintaining privacy.

The law was passed in a process rife with corruption, secrecy and other undemocratic irregularities. Turkey's #OccupyGezi uprising galvanized a diverse opposition that took to the streets against corruption and repression, spread using the Internet. It documented police brutality that shocked the world and uploaded the videos to Youtube. As the forces of reaction and oppression in Turkey move to consolidate their power, it's clear that this law is intended to prevent any further use of networks to organize and publicize opposition movements.

On Medium, Ahmet A. Sabancı has posted a poignant farewell to the Internet from Istanbul:

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A holiday reminder

Eating turkey doesn't make you sleepy — it's all the booze and over-eating that does that.

Why Q was illegal in Turkey until last month

Last month, Turkey repealed its 1928 Alphabet Law, and legalized the letter Q. In a short, illuminating piece in the London Review of Books, Yasmine Searle describes the history of Romanicization of Turkish writing, which was part of a larger project to assimilate Turkish minorities by standardizing the language and its spelling, and, in the process, banning many of the keys from the left side of the typewriter.

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Game-tokens found in 5,000-year-old burial mound


Ege University's Haluk Sağlamtimur presented a remarkable find of 5,000-year-old gaming tokens found in a Bronze Age burial mound at Başur Höyük in Turkey. They take a variety of forms ("Some depict pigs, dogs and pyramids, others feature round and bullet shapes. We also found dice as well as three circular tokens made of white shell and topped with a black round stone") and suggest a game based in some way on the number four.

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Technology of #OccupyGezi

Here's a quick overview of the technologies used (so well) by the #OccupyGezi protesters in Turkey. There's no question that the right tools helped organizers mobilize non-activists in huge numbers, despite the threat of police violence. But the question that remains to be seen is how much signals intelligence the police intercepted from the protesters, and whether they'll use that to track down and attack protesters after the fact. Cory 2

Scenes from Turkey and Brazil


(A protester in Sao Paulo kisses a Turkish flag. Brazilians say they were, to a large extent, influenced by #occupygezi)

Yup, they're still in the streets in Turkey. And Brazil. And it's not just because Turkish cops buy their tear-gas from Brazil. Yesterday's Brazilian protests widened the causes under discussion, expanding to cover new laws that will make it harder to punish corrupt public officials. Photos from the excellent OccupyGeziPics Tumblr.

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Turkish cops shoot a protester's drone out of the sky

Above, footage of a protester's quadcopter in Gezi Park getting shot down by the Turkish Police. Below, the footage of police violence the drone had been capturing (complete with music that sounds like it came out of an orc-fighting scene in the Hobbit). Ahead of us: a long, weird future history of protest.

Tuesday afternoon on June 11th 2013, Police was violently attacking peaceful protestors. Police fired guns at one of our RC drone during the protests in Taksim square, Istanbul. Police aimed directly at the camera. Due to the impact on the camera (it did have a housing) the last video was not saved properly on the SD card. The camera and drone were both broken. Managed to keep the SD card. Here is the footage from that camera! This footage you are about to see is from the prior flights minutes before the incident.

Turkish drone shooting heralds a new age of civillian counter-surveillance

Young Gezi protester waits out the tear-gas in a Burger King


From the Occupy Gezi Pics tumblr: "A young girl in a Burger King restaurant on Sunday, after she managed to escape the tear gas outside. The caption reads: 'Spring will come again. I promise you.'"

A young girl in a Burger King restaurant on Sunday

Brutal crackdown on Turkish protests


Barricades at Nisantasi, at 4:50AM Sunday

Poiu is in Turkey; he writes: " Since yesterday evening, everything has worsened. Unfortunately it is not really covered by local media, the consequence of that being that it gets a lot less international attention than it should. People are gassed here non stop, in all central Istanbul areas. Tens of thousands of people are out in the streets. The only two channels who cover the street events are ULUSAL KANAL CANLI YAYINI and artı bir tv. You should check them out just to get an idea of the scale and the drama."

Meanwhile, there's a lot of astounding stuff in the Occupy Gezi Pics Tumblr.

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From Gezi Park

A protester runs through tents covered by tear gas in Gezi park in Istanbul's Taksim square June 15, 2013. Turkish riot police stormed a central Istanbul park on Saturday firing tear gas and water cannon to evict hundreds of anti-government protesters, hours after an ultimatum from Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis

I've been attending the Gezi Park protests since arriving in Turkey on June 6.

Thousands of people have camped at the park in Taksim Square, traditionally a gathering place for all kinds of meetings and protests, to prevent Prime Minister Erdoğan from razing the park to remove the place of assembly and erase some of the last green space in Istanbul to turn it into an Ottoman barracks shopping mall.

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Turkish EU minister: protesters will be treated as terrorists


Turkish police used extreme force to eject the protesters from Taksim Square yesterday. Egemen Bağış, Turkey's representative in the EU, gave a televised address in which he said, "[The police] will intervene against anybody who tries to enter Taksim Square, [treating them] as a terrorist."

Everyone who enters Taksim Square will be treated as a terrorist: Turkish EU Minister

(via Reddit)

(Image: "People crossing Bosphprous Bridge (normally closed to pedesterians) headed for Taksim square" Ve halk kopruyu gecti/ @marjinal_hatun)