YouTube, Turkey Resolve Their Differences
The court-ordered ban lasted two days, but it’s over now – YouTube is once again accessible in Turkey. But in order to appease the court, the video-sharing site removed a certain clip; hard feelings remain among both freedom-of-speech supporters and those who were offended by the video.
If you didn’t hear why the ban was initiated, you can read our coverage here. In short: Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the country’s founder, was depicted as homosexual in a video, and Turk Telecom, as ordered by an Istanbul court, quickly shut down access to YouTube.
The Southeast European Times reported that the resulting site was pretty empty, except for a statement that labeled its emptiness as being “in accordance with decision No: 2007/384 dated 06.03.2007 of the Istanbul First Criminal Peace Court.”
It didn’t take long for YouTube to cry uncle, and, depending on your point of view, this could be either a smart business decision or another Google-related failure in the realm of free speech. An official statement from the company gave a nod to “new and unique cultural challenges,” then went on to say, “We respect the authorities in Turkey and are committed to working with them to resolve this. We should note, however, that the video in question is no longer on the site.”
And just like that, the ban was lifted and the respect of some was lost. Michael Arrington wrote that YouTube’s capitulation “sets a terrible precedent” and “shows that they’ll be soft on these issues in the future . . . . “This is also,” he noted, “yet another blow to freedom of speech in Turkey.”