Major cyber-attack on Turkish Energy Ministry claimed
Sources from the Energy Ministry claim that a major cyber-attack is the source of the widespread electricity cuts across Istanbul in recent days, according to reports in the Turkish media.
“The attacks are generally aiming to seize Internet sites and secure infiltration,” a senior anonymous source said on Dec. 31, as quoted by state-run Anadolu Agency.
“Many infiltration attempts to the systems controlling our transmission and electricity producing lines were determined and prevented. The infiltration attempts are indicators of a major sabotage preparation against Turkey’s national electricity network,” he added.
Saying that the relevant institutions are taking necessary measures, the source noted that intelligence units had received intelligence on possible cyber-attacks on New Year’s Eve.
He also said the cyber-attacks started after failed July 15 coup attempt and have been increasing ever since.
Energy Minister Berat Albayrak said a comprehensive investigation has been launched to figure out the real reasons behind the electricity cuts in a trip to the northwestern province of Kocaeli, which is the main center of the breakdowns.
“This process is of particular significance for us as the power outages have hit Turkey’s industrial region, spanning from Kocaeli to Istanbul. We have seen a disaster that directly affects seven main electricity transmission lines, covering a large area. These lines were destroyed on Dec. 29 mainly due to harsh weather conditions. But we have launched a comprehensive investigation to understand whether there is another reason behind these power outages,” Albayrak added.
“We are working with the police in cooperation in order to determine the damage,” read a Dec. 31 statement from the Energy Ministry, adding that efforts to resolve the issue are proceeding with great speed.
“Efforts to repair the damage in the transmission lines that provide for Istanbul, which were caused by heavy snowfall and storms in the north of Marmara region, are continuing with utmost speed. Some 164 employees in four groups have been working on the issue,” the ministry stated, noting that particular damage was caused to transmission towers.
“We are laying emphasis on all the possibilities on how this damage occurred on the lines, some of which were renewed very recently,” it added.
No major electricity cut was reported as of Jan. 1.
The city of more than 14 million people straddles Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus Strait, with both sides of experiencing severe power outages in sub-zero temperatures. Electricity providers warned of rolling power cuts into Dec. 31.
Meanwhile, the Chamber of Electrical Engineers (EMO) on Dec. 23 warned that such power outages may be occurring due to policy mistakes, adding in a statement that “major grievances” might occur if no urgent intervention is made.