Turkey has been introducing new measures to restrict access to information and impose its censorship rules by blocking virtual private networks (VPNs) and the Tor network, a system designed to help users with anonymity and reach banned websites.

At the same time, the government is stepping up arrests of social media users who are alleged to have supported banned groups.

The new technological measures have been implemented in recent weeks, according to cyber security experts. There had been unconfirmed reports in the Turkish media, citing state agencies, that the government was seeking to impose exactly these types of measures.

Tens of thousands of websites are already blocked in Turkey and thousands of individual Twitter accounts are banned. Furthermore, the government imposes full-scale blocks on social media sites during times of unrest.

As such, many users have become adept at employing tools like VPNs, which allow people to "tunnel" through the internet and surf the web as if they were in another country with less restrictive cyber laws, enabling them to access unfiltered information.

The new measures were felt acutely during recent events, when the government blocked access to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for hours. People discovered their go-to workarounds were no longer effective.

"We've seen that they had impact when people tried to switch on their VPNs," said Alp Toker, who helps run Turkey Blocks, a monitoring group.

The major recent events were Islamic State releasing a video of its fighters apparently brutally executing two Turkish soldiers and the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey by an off-duty police officer shouting Islamist slogans.

In both instances, the government sought to restrict the spread of videos and information.

The websites of some of the most popular VPN services in Turkey are increasingly blocked and users say they are scrambling to find alternatives.

While mostly the government is content to throttle social media sites during critical periods, it recently shut down 3G networks more entirely when police arrested members of parliament from a pro-Kurdish opposition party.

As part of what it calls the war against terrorism, Turkey is also taking judicial action against social media users themselves.

Over the past six months, the authorities have opened investigations into 3,710 people over social media posts, while 1,656 suspects are under arrest, according to data from the Interior Ministry. A further 1,203 were released under judicial control.

Thousands more cases are still being looked at by the public prosecutors, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The authorities actively encourage citizens to report on social media users who express objectionable views, particularly with regards to the armed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

This comes on top of cases opened against nearly 2,000 people - according to data from earlier this year - who allegedly insulted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a crime. Many did so online, sometimes simply by sharing content on Facebook.

Furthermore, some 120 journalists are in jail. The public broadcaster and most private channels do not broadcast many dissident views.

Turkey Blocks, the monitoring group, has expressed concern that the combined effect of the online measures to block information will "change the nature of internet usage over years to come, diminishing media freedom and freedom of opinion and expression in Turkey".

The group explained in a recent report that the new network restrictions will mean that even those who were able to circumvent "mass censorship events" rather easily in the past will now be left stranded inside the government's firewall.

While some workarounds remain - and corporate VPNs are not being affected, in an apparent effort to minimize the negative repercussions on businesses - in all, a decreasing number of people will have access to uncensored information.

Moreover, with fewer people able to access social media during times of unrest, those with working VPNs will find source material is scarcer. Demonstrators, for example, will struggle to post photos and videos from protests.

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