Mere days after it blocked access to Twitter, the Turkish government has done the same for YouTube. WebRazzi reports that the video-sharing site is now unavailable through all ISPs, and has posted a screenshot which confirms the move. It simply reads at the bottom: “Access has been blocked by Telecommunication Communication Presidency.”
According to Reuters, the Turkish telecoms authority TIB confirmed today it has taken “administrative measure” against the Google-owned platform. A second screenshot posted by WebRazzi details the TIB’s decision on its website.
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It reads: “After technical analysis and legal consideration based on the Law Nr. 5651, ADMINISTRATION MEASURE has been taken for this website (Youtube.com) according to Decision Nr. 490.05.01.2014.-48125 dated 27/03/2014 of Telekomünikasyon İletişim Başkanlığı.”
“This is another desperate and depressing move in Turkey,” European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said. “I express my support for all those supporters of real freedom and democracy. We in Europe stand for an open Internet and free expression on it.”
Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said Google had declined requests from the Turkish government to remove a video that allegedly points to government corruption. It reportedly includes a recording of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Prime Minister, in which he tells his son to hide cash from investigators. The video has now been watched millions of times.
In its report, the WSJ said Google feared YouTube would be blocked in Turkey as a result of its decision to keep the videos online. One source told the newspaper that the iconic technology company felt “an immediate threat”.
At the moment, there is nothing substantial to connect the video with the TIB’s decision to ban YouTube. The timing suggests otherwise though, and it’ll be interesting to see whether the Turkish government provides any further comment on the matter. In the meantime, the popular video-sharing site is inaccessible to everyone within its borders.
Twitter, meanwhile, has filed for lawsuits in the Turkish courts to have the ban of its service overturned. The ban has been justified with three court orders and a request from a public prosecutor, which it now hopes to prove as baseless. For one of the orders, it’s already agreed to pull access to tweets that accuse a former minister of government corruption using its ‘Country Withheld Content‘ tool.