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Iran allegedly behind nationwide power outage

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An article published in U.S.-based newspaper, The New York Observer, claims the recent massive power outage in Turkey that happened on March 31 was caused by Iran. The article claims: “The blackout in Turkey was caused by a cyber hack that originated in Iran.” Continuing the claims by explaining the timeline that would lead to Iran’s alleged decision to hack Turkey’s energy supply, the article states it began with Yemen and Saudi Arabia’s coalition and the Saudi-led bombing in Yemen.

The latest nationwide power outage affected half of Turkey, where 44 of 81 provinces suffered from the incident, which lasted 12 hours. As the crisis desk at Turkey’s Energy Ministry was established following the incident, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said: “We’re considering all probabilities behind the nationwide power outage, including a cyberattack.”

In regard to the power outage, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız said that there may be multiple causes, ruling out speculation that it was due to the inefficiency of the power grid. Yıldız also stressed during the incident that they would look into claims of it being a cyberattack. The Wall Street Journal reported that Iran, alleged to have one of the world’s best cyber armies, hacked U.S. naval computers back in late September 2013. The article claims that such cyberattacks are “caused by malware inserted into computers via an email or a thumb drive that is attached to a computer that is somehow connected to the electric grid.” The article says that a malware program can be automatic or controlled remotely, and makes reference to a Bloomberg Business report from April 1st that which discusses the power outage. The report said: “While the source of the problem is still unknown, recent revelations that a 2008 oil pipeline explosion in Turkey was orchestrated via computer … demonstrates the increasing ability to penetrate systems.” The oil pipeline explosion in 2008 occurred on the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline near the eastern Turkish city of Erzincan in August 2008 and briefly halted gas exports from Azerbaijan to Turkey.

In the meantime, commenting on the claims, an expert from the Energy Ministry talked to Daily Sabah on Tuesday and said Iran’s involvement in the recent nationwide blackout has been on the ministry’s agenda. However, the expert added that no official statement can be made as the investigation is still ongoing. The claims regarding Iran’s involvement in the power outage continue by referring to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s statements back on March 26, when he said Iran’s proxy war with Saudi Arabia and its sponsorship of Houthi rebels in Yemen was intolerable, as a cause of Iran’s alleged cyberattack.