Is YouTube back online in Turkey?

By EDRi · November 3, 2010

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Deutsch: [Ist YouTube in der Türkei wieder online? |]

After almost three years of blocking, Turkey has finally lifted its ban on
YouTube. Google’s site was blocked in 2007 for videos considered insulting
to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the country’s founder.

In 2007, Turkey’s parliament adopted a law allowing a court to block any
website in case there was “sufficient suspicion” that a crime had occurred.
The Appeal Court of Ankara has recently decided to lift the ban on Google’s
site but the decision is not considered entirely a victory as it came along
with the removal of the videos in question.

Transport Minister Binali Yildirim said there was no longer any reason to
ban the website because the offending videos had been removed. “I hope that
they have also learned from this experience and the same thing will not
happen again. YouTube will hopefully carry out its operations in Turkey
within the limits of law in the future,” he added thus implying that the
site could always be in danger of suspension in the future in case similar
content is posted on it.

YouTube wanted to emphasize the fact that the videos had been removed by a
third party: “We want to be clear that a third party, not YouTube, have
apparently removed some of the videos that have caused the blocking of
YouTube in Turkey using our automated copyright complaint process. We are
investigating whether this action is valid in accordance with our copyright

But the victory may be short-lived, as the Dr. Yaman Akdeniz has pointed out
that the videos are back online:

“Despite the earlier news that Turkey has lifted its ban on YouTube after
almost 2.5 years, YouTube reinstated the four videos that were removed by a
licensing agency in Germany. YouTube, in a statement circulated in Turkish
late Monday night stated that the four videos did not violate its copyright
violation policy and therefore they were put back into the system (…)

It remains to be seen how the Turkish authorities will react to this
action by YouTube but I strongly suspect that they will issue a new
injunction to block access to YouTube.”

OSCE (the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe) which, in
June 2010, expressed the opinion that Internet censorship in Turkey was one
of the heaviest in the world by the the law allowing the access blocking to
more than 5 000 sites, welcomed the present decision but urged Turkey to
continue in this direction “by reforming its Internet law and lift the
remaining website bans.”

Thousands of other websites, especially those related to sensitive topics
such as Ataturk, the army and minorities, remain blocked.

Turkey lifts two-year ban on YouTube (30.10.2010)

YouTube accessible soon in Turkey after three years of blocking (only in
French, 30.10.2010)

YouTube Ban is Imminent (again) in Turkey (1.11.2010)

YouTube Ban is Imminent (again) in Turkey

Turkey: Authorities urged to ensure YouTube stays unblocked (3.11.2010),38742.html

EDRI-gram: Turkey extends the censorship of YouTube (16.06.2010)