Monitoring the internet in Turkey in real-time: the 2017 constitutional referendum

On April 16th 2017, Turkey will hold a constitutional referendum where voters will decide on a number of amendments to Turkey’s constitution. Some of those amendments will replace the current parliamentary system by a presidential system with an executive presidency.
Over the referendum period, we will be providing here observations on the quality of the internet in Turkey. Our method produces district-level observations on internet access and internet speed at hourly intervals.
Our approaches leverages similar methodologies to our existing research program that has yielded global insights on the adoption of the internet, sleeping patternseconomic outcomes, and internet tampering.
The outcomes of our monitoring are provided first and foremost to the Turkish people, and additionally, to those in the international community who have an interest in the functioning and availability of the internet during times of political significance.

How are the figures created?

We have collected online/offline and latency observations on 499,843 randomly selected IP-addresses that are known to exist in one of 385 Turkish districts, three times per hour. We conduct these observations from multiple, international, observation assets.
We aggregate these data into percentage of IPs online, and the average latency (return time for a packet of information to travel to that IP and back again) of online IPs.
Since internet quality can be affected by international causes we additionally collect internet quality data at 60,000 IPs which are known to exist in six neighbouring, non-Turkish, cities to serve as a control group.
Figure 1 provides a comparison of the first-differences (level today minus level yesterday) of the online fraction in Turkey and control regions.
Figure 2 provides a comparison of the first-differences of the latency (internet speed) in Turkey and control regions.
In both figures, if the lines lie on top of each other, one can say that the quality of internet in both Turkey and control areas are equivalent. If the lines deviate substantially, then the quality of the internet in Turkey is different to that of the control areas.


Our methodology is not designed to monitor the quality of access to specific websites, or specific traffic within Turkey. We cannot make any observation on this aspect of Turkish internet quality.

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