“Our study indicates that service providers have successfully complied with a government order to ban VPN services.” reads a blog post published by the Turkey Blocks.
Tor popularity in Turkey is increasing due to the censorship applied by the local authorities.
The Turkish Government has applied new sophisticated “blocking measures” that will not allow circumventing social media shutdowns in Turkey. The Government is blocking Tor and any other VPN service as part of the Turkey’s internet censorship of the central government.
The Government of Ankara recently ordered ISPs to block access to the Tor and many other VPN services. Earlier in December, the Turk Internet that represents the ISPs in the country reported the high pressure on the Government to complete the ban. The Government ordered ISPs a weekly status update on the applied restrictions.
In the recent years, the Turkish Government as applied several times the block of the social media networks during national emergencies and political unrest and street demonstrations.
In the following graph, it is reported the number of direct connected Tor users (Source Tor Metrics), it is easy to verify the increased popularity of the tool in the country since last year.
The experts from the Turkey Blocks also noticed Tor usage via bridges is being downgraded due to the restrictions applied by the Turkish Government.
“Turkey Blocks finds that the Tor direct access mode is now restricted for most internet users throughout the country; Tor usage via bridges including obfs3 and obfs4 remains viable, although we see indications that obfs3 is being downgraded by some service providers with scope for similar on restrictions obfs4. The restrictions are being implemented in tandem with apparent degradation of commercial VPN service traffic.” continues the analysis published by the Turkey Blocks.
The study conducted by the organizations corroborates user reports that Tor access with the default configuration is now widely restricted. At the time I was writing, the ban isn’t total and the Turkish government is not covering corporate or custom VPN solutions.
(Security Affairs – Tor, Turkish Government)