Turkey blocks Kurdish, opposition news sites ahead of referendum

Turkey’s Information and Communications Technologies Authority has blocked access to several Kurdish and opposition news sites.

The website of Turkey-based news agency Dihaber and Europe-based Firat News Agency were blocked alongside the news site for Ozgurlukcu Demokrasi, the successor of Ozgur Gundem daily, shut down by decree law recently.

The website of Sendika.org, a left-wing news site was also blocked for the 17th time.

The Turkish government has imposed bans on social media sites such as Twitter before. Periscope, an application widely used by the political opposition in Turkey to document irregularities or police aggression towards citizens and for live coverage of parliamentary sessions, was also shut down last week on the pretext of a copyright infringement. The application relaunched under the name ‘Scope’ to overcome the ban.

More than 170 news outlets, including prominent television channels and newspapers were shut down with government issued decree laws in post-coup Turkey. Around 150 journalists are thought to be behind bars in the country.

The latest ban comes just weeks ahead of the country’s constitutional referendum.