Turkish hackers organize cyberattacks on Dutch websites

Turkish hacker groups targeted a large number of Dutch websites after the political fallout between the Netherlands and Turkey over the weekend, reported by the NL Times. The news portal the NL Times, itself, was also targeted.

Website Rumag was hacked on Monday, according to NU.nl. Pro-Turkish and anti-European texts with a photo of Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan were posted on the site. After the Turkish text a message was displayed in English. It read: “Hey Europe, you often talk about democracy, human rights and freedom. But your fear of ‘Great Turkey’ shows your colonialist, racist and fascist crusade mentality and shows your true face.” The message is signed by hacking group Cyber-Warrior Akincilar.

A large number of websites hosted by Versio were also hacked into. On some sites messages were left signed by several members of Privatehackers.com. On the forum of this Turkish language website, multiple topics were opened since the increased tensions between the Netherlands and Turkey. In these topics claims are made that between 95 and 1,500 Dutch websites were hacked.

Some of the websites were taken over and messages were left. One read: “You Dutch think we will do nothing, but you are wrong. We will never forget what you have done to us,” according to NU.nl. While no direct reference is made to the diplomatic row between the Netherlands and Turkey, the message does seem to refer to it.

Versio confirmed that there was indeed a hack, but could not yet confirm where it came from. On the Versio forum director Reshad Bashir announce that charges were pressed with the police and that “because of the sensitivity of the issue” he can not say more about the circumstances of the hack. He did say that two servers were hacked and that no user data or passwords were stolen. The affected websites have been restored and additional measures were taken to prevent something like this happening again.

Tensions between the Netherlands and Turkey broke out on Saturday when the former blocked two Turkish ministers from speaking at political rallies and President Erdoğan twice referred to the Dutch government as “Nazis.”

Turkey’s relations with Germany, Austria and the Netherlands have been strained over these countries’ refusal to allow Turkish government officials to hold rallies there ahead of the public referendum in Turkey in April.

Turkey will hold a referendum on April 16 on a constitutional reform package that will introduce an executive presidency in the country if approved.

Germany, Austria and the Netherlands have canceled scheduled events to be participated in by Turkish ministers, usually out of security concerns.

A large number of Turkish citizens or people of Turkish origin live in these countries, and Turkish citizens living abroad have the right to vote in elections and referenda.

Turkey is a candidate to join the EU, although the membership negotiations have made little progress over the past decade. The country has become a vital partner in a deal with the EU to curb the passage of migrants and refugees from Turkey into Europe.

March 14, 2017

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