Just a few days after the Turkish government blocked popular social networking site Twitter, it also imposed a crackdown on the video streaming site YouTube.
Twitter, which has an estimated 10 million Turkish subscribers, was blocked by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the run-up to the local elections due to fears that voters will be influenced by what he calls “fake online tapes” that accuse him of corruption.
International news agency Reuters quoted PM Erdogan at a rally last week, saying that he could not see why “people of good sense” could take the side of popular social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube because they carry “all of kinds of lies” there.
— Occupy Wall Street (@OccupyWallSt) March 21, 2014
Less than a week after the Twitter ban, Turkish YouTube users claimed to have been greeted by a message stating that “administrative measure” had been taken against the site after “technical analysis and legal consideration” in accordance with Turkish law.
A leaked audio recording of top government officials discussing potential military operations in Syria previously flooded the video website, thus prompting Turkey’s telecommunications authority (TIB) to take another administrative measure against it. There have been speculations that the government’s decision to remove YouTube access was made because PM Erdogan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) were trying to do some damage control over recent corruption allegations.
However, it was also reported that some users are able to access YouTube, while others aren’t.
— Ates Yanik (@atesyanik) March 27, 2014
YouTube access is blocked in Turkey. Way to go Erdogan.
— Oray Egin (@OrayinEnglish) March 27, 2014
Turkish Twitter users were originally getting around the crackdown by modifying their Domain Name System settings. The Twitter ban has since been lifted following a ruling imposed by an Ankara court. However, an insider from PM Edrogan’s office claimed that the TIB still had 30 days to appeal or implement the court’s decision.
PM Edrogan made a promise during the campaign trail that he would “wipe out” the service and that he did not care about the reaction of the international community regarding the matter.
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the seemingly hasty move to ban YouTube came after search engine Google turned down several requests from the Turkish government to remove videos featuring corruption accusations.
At a rally held today, PM Erdogan described the leaked video on YouTube as “villainous”, and one of his officials claimed that it caused an issue of national security. The same source also stated that the government was negotiating with YouTube and that it may lift the ban if the video sharing site agreed to take down the incriminating content.
Image via YouTube