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Turkey's Latest Enemy of the State: Cats

The Turkish energy minister blamed an election-night power cut on a cat, raising not-entirely-genuine fears of a sinister feline lobby.
Protesters hold placards depicting Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a cat, during a demonstration in front of the Supreme Electoral Board in Ankara on April 2, 2014. ADEM ALTAN / AFP - Getty Images

First they came for Twitter. Then they came for YouTube. Now, the definitive proof that Turkey's government hates the Internet: it's going after cats.

You see, one of them was allegedly — we stress allegedly — responsible for a suspicious power outage in the capital as officials counted the votes in municipal elections last weekend. The blackout, one of several across the country that led to ballot-counting by candlelight, had some opposition activists crying sabotage.

Sabotage it may well have been, but not of the human kind. According to Turkey's energy minister, the suspect was of less than average height, had more than average body hair, and had a distinctly blasé attitude to the difference between 'allowed' and 'not allowed.'

"I am not joking, friends," Taner Yildiz specified, helpfully, for those of us who were unsure. "A cat walked into a transformer unit. That's why there was a power cut," he told reporters on Tuesday, before adding meaningfully: "It's not the first time this has happened."

Where else have the little vandals been sticking their tiny pink noses? Yildiz's accusations had social media (which — side note — appears to be alive and kicking in Turkey despite the government's best efforts) aflame with speculation about the shadowy "cat lobby" at work behind the scenes.

Is any of this true? Alas, we'll never know. In this case, curiosity — and/or a nefarious desire to derail civic participation — really did kill the cat. The presumption is that the trespasser didn't survive its encounter with the transformer unit.

RIP, anti-democracy cat. RIP.

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost: Turkey's latest enemy of the state: Cats

- Jessica Phelan, GlobalPost