As a new online service allowing people to see their family roots caused a stir among Turkish internet users, Turkey's online government services website went down briefly as thousands rushed for a look.
The new service of the General Directorate of Population and Citizenship on the e-Devlet (e-State) website allows users to see their family roots back to the 18th century within the boundaries of personal data protection law, meaning users can only see their direct ancestral lineage.
Within an hour of the service's launch, more than 30,000 reports have been created, the official Anadolu Agency reported.
Hours later, the main site became inaccessible, likely due to the overwhelming volume of demand.
Such records had been inaccessible until the last decade and were subject to special permissions. This was mainly due to unavailability of regular population records from the late Ottoman era of the 19th and 20th centuries, marked by wars, ethnic conflicts and migrations. Family records were mainly available in the Parliament or large state archives among classified information.
Experts and historians attribute this secrecy to the Turkish nationalist nation-state policies of the single-party period of the early Republican era that followed a multicultural empire.
In 2006, new population legislation was introduced, but it was still necessary to apply to local population directorates to obtain such records.