Turkey blocked access to several cloud storage sites and online services, including Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, and Github, as it attempted to stop the spread of almost 60,000 stolen government emails, according to Turkeyblocks.org.
Hacker group RedHack leaked 17GB worth of personal emails belonging to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Berat Albayrak, who is Erdoğan’s son-in-law.
In an order related to the investigation of RedHack members, an Ankara court confirmed that the emails are authentic.
The Daily Dot reports that RedHack said it wouldn’t leak the emails if Turkey agreed to its demands and released leftist dissidents from pre-trial detention. But the government refused; instead, it banned news coverage of the hack and requested that Twitter suspend the group’s account, which it did.
RedHack then began leaking the emails, which date from April 2000 to today. They show, among other things, how Erdoğan uses his position to control the media and even suggest which stories should be published in pro-government newspapers.
As a way of preventing the circulation of the damning emails, Turkey put a block on Github, Dropbox, and several other websites. They were issuing SSL errors, indicating blocking at a national level.
The Register notes that while the major ISPs upheld the blocks, some of the smaller companies apparently allowed access to the sites.
Turkey Blocks reports that the government restored access to Google Drive on Sunday after the company complied with a takedown order. Access to Dropbox is also said to have now been restored.
Blocking off parts of the internet to control how its government is portrayed online isn’t a new practice for Turkey. Following a car bomb explosion in Ankara, citizens found they couldn’t access Facebook or Twitter. Wikileaks was also blocked back in July after emails from the ruling AKP party were leaked.