ISTANBUL: Turkey’s election authority has denied that a massive data leak which saw the personal information of 50 million citizens posted online came from its system, local media reported Saturday.
A database — containing Turks’ names, identity numbers and addresses — was posted online by hackers earlier this week along with sharp jabs at the country’s leadership.
The government said the data appeared to be that shared with different political parties ahead of elections in 2009.
“Engineers did investigations. Although it is compatible with the records we have, there was not any leak from our system,” the head of the election commission Sadi Guven Guven told state-run Anadolu agency.
“A leak would be almost impossibly difficult. Our system is very strongly protected.” Ankara federal prosecutors on Wednesday opened an investigation into the data spill which risks exposing most of Turkey’s 78 million citizens to identity theft and fraud.
The Hurriyet Daily News meanwhile reported that the justice ministry had begun efforts to amend the election law, so that personal data would not be shared with political parties.
This prompted the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) to accuse the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of trying to “control elections”.
The database was posted on a site accompanied by a statement pointing out weaknesses in Turkey’s data protection and accusing President Recip Tayyip Erdogan of “destroying” the country.
Local media said the site where the data was posted appeared to be hosted by an Icelandic group that specialises in divulging leaks, using servers in Romania.
Just days after the leak emerged, Turkey passed its first data protection law, which had been in the works for over a decade.