Amid the ongoing military coup in Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan used Apple's FaceTime to phone into a Turkish television network this evening from a secure location. According to New York Times reporter Ceylan Yeginsu, who posted a limited transcript of the conversation on Twitter, Erdogan told citizens of Turkey to "convene at public squares and airports." Starting Friday, factions of the Turkish military began taking control of public infrastructure, shutting down bridges in Istanbul and forcibly grounding all flights out of the Atatürk airport.
"There is no power higher than the power of the people," Erdogan reportedly said from an iPhone screen. "The chain of command has been violated. This is a step against the higher ranks by their superiors." The whereabouts of Erdogan, a controversial Islamist politician who has wrangled in recent years with Turkey's military, are currently unknown. An aide told The New York Times his location would not be disclosed as the phone lines were "being listened to," but it's rumored he may have left the country entirely. The actual status of the Turkish government is mired by misinformation at this point, as both sides of the conflict claim to be in control.
Erdogan making a statement on facetime right now. pic.twitter.com/F1Nip0C01V— Ceylan Yeginsu (@CeylanWrites) July 15, 2016
As the situations unfolds, social media access in the country has been restricted. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have all been blocked, according to Reuters, and it's not yet known whether the Turkish government is responsible. However, in past crises, the government has forced the country's internet service providers to block social media access in an attempt to suppress oppositional forces from organizing and communicating.
We have no reason to think we’ve been fully blocked in #Turkey, but we suspect there is an intentional slowing of our traffic in country.— Policy (@policy) July 15, 2016
Twitter's policy arm tweeted that although the service may not be blocked in Turkey, the company is noticing a slowdown of its traffic in the country. Dyn, an internet analysis firm, confirmed to The New York Times that Facebook and Twitter traffic was "throttled to the point of unusability."
Despite the attempted social media shutdown, Facebook Live is seeing a large spike in active video streams from Turkey. A collection of the live videos can be found here, and scrolling over to Turkey will let you click on any available streams and jump in. Simply hovering your mouse cursor over any of the blue dots will also preview the live video.
Update July 15th, 6:24PM ET: Added link to Facebook Live Map.