Internet activists Anonymous have attacked several official websites in Turkey on the eve of a general election in protest at what they call increasing censorship, in a cyberattack dubbed “Operation Turkey”.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is bidding for his third consecutive four-year term. The constitution says that is his last. If his AK Party gets a two-thirds majority, he can rewrite the constitution, but he may have other plans.
Some believe he is setting up a bid to become president, and any new constitution would try to make Turkish democracy more presidential, and himself more powerful.
As campaigning reaches its climax the main opposition party the CHP warns Erdogan is increasingly autocratic. The CHP is secular and terrified that the AKP’s moderate Islamic face veils a more radical agenda. The latest polls give the AKP 48 percent of the vote, with the CHP 27 percent, and the nationalists 13 percent.
“The government has been ruling the country steadily and I am satisfied with their performance. They should continue,” was one Istanbul man’s opinion.
“The government’s stance doesn’t fit with my lifestyle and Turks are becoming more and more pious every day. I am not comfortable with what is going on,” said a woman.
Others are worried about what they call growing governmental authoritarianism. Tens of thousands demonstrated in May against a new internet filtering system going online in August, which they claim will tighten censorship.
Internet activists Anonymous agree, saying the filters will also store records of individual’s internet activity.