YouTube blocked once more in Turkey

By EDRi · January 30, 2008

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

An order issued by a Turkish court on 17 January 2008 blocked once again the
access to Google’s YouTube Web site on account of allegedly insulting clips
referring to the country’s founding father, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

The ban lasted for 6 days and as no statements have been made by Turk
Telekom which has implemented the ban or by YouTube representatives, it is
not yet known whether the ban was lifted because the clips under question
were removed.

The situation seems to be a repeated pattern as YouTube was first banned in
March 2007 for similar allegations until the video considered disrespectful
were removed by the site. A second time, in September, a Turkish court from
the eastern city of Sivas decided to order the ISPs to block the access to
YouTube for a video considered offending to Ataturk, President Abdullah Gul,
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish army but the ban was not

The bans on YouTube are an expression of the problems Turkey has with
freedom of expression. Turkish writers and journalists have been on trial
for having allegedly brought insults to “Turkishness” and the country, which
is seeking European Union membership, is already under EU pressure to
improve the situation. The EU also asks Turkey to abolish an article in its
penal code considered to violate free speech.

This situation is highly criticized in the country as well. Journalist Emre
Aköz from Sabat considers that this ban places Turkey into the range
undemocratic regimes and gives those that oppose the adherence of Turkey to
the EU the occasion to say: “We told you these guys are pro-ban. They lack
tolerance. They cannot bear hearing criticism. Here is the evidence.” Posta
journalist Mehmet Barlas’ opinion is that “Can we now say that we have taken
the virtual world under our control by banning YouTube? No. The virtual
world is incredibly large, it is both close and far away and a digital
world,” and also added: “Blocking full access to a Web site, although
possible to block only those controversial videos in this information era,
is like blocking access to a school due to an unruly student or banning
civil aviation due to an accident”.

Turkey is not the only country having blocked YouTube. In 2007, the Thai
government banned the site for almost four months for some clips considered
offensive to King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Thailand’s monarch and in Morocco the
site could not be accessed after some users posted videos that were
criticising the way in which Morocco was treating people of Western Sahara.
The government has not admitted having blocked the site trying to accuse a
technical fault but being unable to explain why the fault affected only
YouTube site.

Turkey Bans YouTube for Second Time (20.01.2008)

Access to YouTube Resumes in Turkey (24.01.2008)

YouTube ban reduces Turkey to the ranks of backward states (23.01.2008)

Turkey once again blocks access to YouTube (22.01.2008)

EDRi-gram: Turkey blocks again YouTube (26.09.2007)