How the Turkish government censors the internet
Türkiye considers itself a democracy, which sounds bizarre, because it censors social media platforms, blocks various websites, and bans the use of VPNs.
In 2020, the government passed legislation which forces social media platforms with over one million daily users to open offices in Türkiye. A new law which targets companies like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and others demands that they remove content and even slow bandwidth at the government’s request.
Social media companies are forced to store user data in Türkiye, which raises privacy and security concerns. There are 65 millions internet users in the country, which is a significant amount of people and the tech giants don’t want to lose them. If the Turkish government asks them to hand users’ data, they have a strong incentive to comply.
Türkiye blocks thousands of websites every year, constantly removes YouTube videos, and heavily regulates streaming services. If you’re visiting Türkiye on vacation, you might not be able to access the internet as you know it.
Is using a VPN legal in Türkiye?
While technically using a VPN is legal in Türkiye, the government has already blocked many VPN providers. If you try to access blocked websites in Türkiye, this can get you in trouble.
A couple of years ago, German authorities warned its citizens that using a VPN in Türkiye might be dangerous and they should consider the risks before doing this.
We’ve prepared a few tips for anyone travelling to Türkiye, to make sure you stay safe and secure online.
Checklist for your trip to Türkiye
- Download a VPN app. A virtual private network hides your IP address and encrypts traffic, allowing you to access blocked websites and stay secure. Make sure to set up the NordVPN account before your trip, so you won’t have to worry about content restrictions.
- Set up a VPN on all your devices. One NordVPN account will cover up to six different devices: smartphones, laptops, tablets, and more. Install the app on every device you’re taking to Türkiye.
- Use obfuscated servers in Türkiye. NordVPN has more than 5,200 servers in 60 countries, making it a great VPN for traveling. It also has obfuscated servers that not only hide your IP address, but also mask the fact that you’re using a VPN in Türkiye. With NordVPN, you’re one step ahead of local authorities that intend to censor the internet.
How NordVPN supports freedom of speech in Türkiye
NordVPN supports social causes and offers Emergency VPN assistance for human rights activists, journalists, and NGOs facing online censorship.
In 2020, NordVPN received 7,100 Emergency VPN requests from all over the world.
Our developers are working tirelessly to ensure that our VPN can never be prevented from serving the people who need it most – citizens living under repressive regimes.
General cybersecurity tips for safe traveling
- Update your apps on time. Make sure that your apps and operating system are up-to-date. Hackers often exploit known software vulnerabilities and running an old version can put you at risk.
- Use strong passwords. Make sure to use unique passwords for every account you have. A good password consists of uppercase and lowercase letters combined with special characters and numbers. The longer the password, the better. Try NordPass to help you with this task.
- Get a separate credit card for traveling. Online scammers and pickpockets can turn your vacation in Türkiye into a living hell. It’s best to dedicate a separate bank card for online reservations, withdrawing cash from ATMs, and making daily purchases.
- Enable a VPN on public Wi-Fi. Public networks are not safe and criminals can intercept your sensitive information in a snap. Never connect to unprotected networks without enabling NordVPN first, as unprotected networks are a gold mine for hackers.