Hamza Yerlikaya, one of the top advisers of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, defended Internet blackouts that have been in effect in Turkey for since Friday, saying that with the slowdown of the Internet, people have remembered face to face conversations they had in the past.
“The slowdown of the Internet in our country has made us remember face to face conversations we had forgotten. Unfortunately, the Internet has made us into another people and turned our lives into imaginary ones,” said Yerlikaya in a message posted on Twitter on Saturday.
Early on Friday Turkish authorities blocked access to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube following police raids on the homes of pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies and their subsequent detention and arrest.
A social media blackout was expanded to VPN tunnels, which enable Internet users to access restricted websites, after the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist group claimed responsibility for a deadly car bomb attack in Diyarbakır that killed nine and wounded over 100 people on Friday morning.
Restrictions were expanded to messaging services WhatsApp, Skype and Instagram on Friday afternoon as Internet users in Turkey complained about service failures.