Turkey keeps YouTube block despite court rulings

ISTANBUL Thu Apr 10, 2014 5:53am EDT

YouTube logos displayed on a laptop screen partially covered with Turkey's national flag in this photo illustration taken in Ankara March 27, 2014. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

YouTube logos displayed on a laptop screen partially covered with Turkey's national flag in this photo illustration taken in Ankara March 27, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Umit Bektas

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ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish authorities defied court orders and reaffirmed a ban on YouTube imposed after the posting of illicit recordings of top secret security talks that was cited by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan as part of a "dirty campaign" to topple him.

Authorities imposed the ban on Google's video-sharing site on March 27 in the build-up to local elections, after weeks of leaked wiretaps which had emerged online, allegedly uncovering corruption in Erdogan's inner circle. Erdogan emerged from the polls with his popularity largely intact.

Turkey's telecoms regulator said on Thursday it would not end a block on YouTube, despite court rulings lifting the ban.

"The measure blocking access to the youtube.com internet site remains in place," the Information and Communications Technologies Authority (BTK) said in a statement on its website.

Access to Twitter had also been barred until the Constitutional Court ruled last week that this violated the law.

Erdogan accuses a U.S.-based Islamic cleric of using a network of supporters to orchestrate an internet campaign and a police corruption investigation to undermine him. The cleric, Fethullah Gulen, denies any involvement and criticizes Erdogan over a purge of his followers from state bodies.

Last Friday a lower court in Ankara ruled that the YouTube ban violated human rights and ordered most of the restrictions be lifted, citing the constitutional court ruling, and instead specifically blocked access to 15 videos.

Despite a prosecutor's challenge to lifting the ban, imposed on grounds of state security, a higher Ankara court also ruled on Wednesday in favor of removing the general block on YouTube.

However, the BTK said that while some of the offending links had been removed, access to others had only been blocked in Turkey and they could be viewed abroad.

It said the ban would remain place "because some of the said content continues to be available on the internet site."

The posting that triggered the ban was an illicit audio recording of a meeting of top security officials at the Foreign Ministry over possible military intervention in Syria. Erdogan condemned the recording as an act of treason.

Erdogan, who has been battling the graft scandal swirling around his government since a police investigation emerged in December, has said the constitutional court decision on Twitter was wrong and should be overturned.

(Writing by Daren Butler, editing by Jonny Hogg)

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Comments (3)
cirrus7 wrote:
This is how you handle treason. The U.S. should be dragging away anyon connected to the theft of 1.5 million highly classifed NSA files, many of which are military related, to face Justice, no matter where they are or even if not US citizens.
Putin upset at a highly embarrassing raid in Russia – good!
(Eddy Snowden)
Brazil perturbed – tough! (Glenn Greenwald)
Germany outraged, too bad! (Laura Poitras)

Apr 10, 2014 9:56am EDT  --  Report as abuse
cirrus7 wrote:
“Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, two American activists engaged in espionage who have been at the forefront of leaking STOLEN Classified documents ILLEGALLY leaked by former NSA contractor, now Traitor Edward ‘Eddy the Rat’ Snowden, will return to the United States on Friday for the first time since revelations of worldwide surveillance broke.” News today. Obviously not expecting arrest, or plan to EXTORT their release by the US government with STOLEN MILTARY SECRETS that could be leaked by crazed co-conspirators.

Apparently the prospect of humiliating the impotent US government while a crowd of 1,000 adoring blissfully ignorant fools applaud their insane weakening of defenses against extremists on suicide missions, with the full might of American Justice just standing around with their thumbs up their ass while they takes turns spewing anti-American Hate Speech into a microphone, AND being handed awards by blithering idiots is worth risking the chance of what should happen:
Detained as Material Witnesses with a high probability of fleeing the country.
Passports shredded.
Electronic devices seized to search for Stolen US Government property
Compelled to answer to a Federal investigation of treason by Snowden or be imprisoned.

Apr 10, 2014 1:53pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
nativepatriot wrote:
cirrus7,you are a sheep,the government been breaking the law since they started keeping secrets from the american people,which is in violation of the constitution.Remember its government for the people,not people for the government.

Apr 10, 2014 11:51pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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