Turkey monitoring VPN use, German foreign office warns

Germany’s Federal Foreign Office has warned travellers that they may face legal repercussions for using VPN networks in Turkey to access websites the country has banned, the German state-run Deutsche Welle Turkish reported on Tuesday.

The Turkish government has imposed tight regulation of the country’s internet, blocking hundreds of thousands of sites and domains including widely used resources like Wikipedia. Many Turks use virtual private networks, or VPNs, as a mean to bypass the restrictions and access sites freely.

But the German ministry has warned travellers that VPN use is monitored in Turkey and users of unverified networks could face punishment, DW said.

The travel advice also repeated a warning about Turkey’s laws against “insulting the president” and “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation”, charges that have been levelled against German citizens in Turkey in recent years.

The warning published last year stated that the charges were often linked to Germans’ social media posts criticising the Turkish government. “In some cases merely ‘liking’ another’s post of that nature is enough,” it said.