Just as chaos began to take hold of Turkey in a potential military coup—fighter jets roared overhead and two key bridges in Istanbul were shut down by the military—the government seems to have decided to shut off the internet. According to Turkey Blocks, a project from Encrypt UK that monitors censorship in Turkey, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube were blocked by 10:50 p.m. local time.
Turkey isn’t new to blocking the internet in times of political strife. When suicide bombers killed more than 45 people at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport last month, the Turkish government appeared to take down those same three sites. But when parts of the internet go dark, the Turkish government generally blames outages or traffic spikes, denying that it throttles or shuts down access to certain sites.
Just before midnight, Twitter users in Turkey began to report that Twitter and Facebook were back up. It’s unclear why service was restored.
Deji Olukotun, the senior global advocacy manager at Access Now, an international digital-rights advocacy group, said internet blackouts just add to the confusion of a chaotic situation.