Turkey blocks WikiLeaks after mass e-mail leak
The Turkish government has blocked access to the WikiLeaks Web site in the country after the whistle-blower organisation released nearly 300 000 e-mails from president Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
The country's Internet watchdog, TIB, said an "administrative measure" had been taken against the Web site "after technical analysis and legal consideration based on the Law Nr. 5651".
WikiLeaks confirmed that it had been blocked in the country via its Twitter page saying: "Erdogan government officially orders WikiLeaks to be blocked after publishing 300k emails from his party, AKP" providing a link to the TIB Web site that shows the order for the block from Turkey's Presidency of Telecommunication and Communication.
WikiLeaks last night released part one of the "AKP Emails" despite saying it had been under cyber-attack for over 24-hours.
"Part one of the series covers 762 mail boxes beginning with 'A' through to 'I' containing 294 548 email bodies together with many thousands of attached files," WikiLeaks says on its Web site.
The group says the e-mails come from the AKP's primary domain, akparti.org.tr, and go back as far as 2010 with the most recent e-mail sent on 6 July 2016.
"We have verified the material and the source, who is not connected, in any way, to the elements behind the attempted coup, or to a rival political party or state," WikiLeaks says.
News of what exactly is in the documents, published in Turkish, is still filtering in, but WikiLeaks says "it should be noted that emails associated with the domain are mostly used for dealing with the world, as opposed to the most sensitive internal matters".
The documents apparently include up-to-date phone numbers of AKP members of Parliament. Al Jazeera confirmed the authenticity of the e-mails and phone numbers of least ten MPs, which were attached to one of the emails shared by the Web site.
Ahead of the e-mail dump WikiLeaks said its infrastructure had been "under sustained attack", suggesting that Turkish political forces were fighting against the release of the documents.
"We are unsure of the true origin of the attack. The timing suggests a Turkish state power faction or its allies. We will prevail & publish," the whistle-blower group said via Twitter.
The transparency organisation has been teasing since Monday that it was about to release the sensitive documents from the Turkish government after a failed coup attempt over the weekend. The group on Monday tweeted: "Get ready for a fight as we release 100k+ docs on #Turkey's political power structure," followed by: "Coming Tuesday: The #ErdoganEmails: 300 thousand internal emails from Erdogan's AKP - through to July 7, 2016."
The documents were eventually released at 11pm Ankara time (10pm SA time) on 19 July when the group said "we appear to have won our 24h cyberwar".
"Turks ask whether WikiLeaks is pro or anti-AKP. Neither. Our only position is that truth is the way forward. 100k+ docs serves all sides," WikiLeaks tweeted ahead of the document dump. The site also urged AKP supporters to pay attention saying the pending mega-leak of documents "both helps and harms AKP".
"The material was obtained a week before the attempted coup. However, WikiLeaks has moved forward its publication schedule in response to the government's post-coup purges," it says.
According to Reuters, around 50 000 soldiers, police, judges, civil servants and teachers have been suspended or detained since the failed military takeover on Friday, in which at least 232 people were killed.
Founded by Julian Assange in 2006, WikiLeaks specialises in the analysis and publication of large datasets "of censored or otherwise restricted official materials involving war, spying and corruption". To date it has published more than 10 million documents and associated analyses.