(Adds background, details)
ANKARA May 29 Turkey's highest court ruled on
Thursday that a block on access to video-sharing website YouTube
, imposed by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government
two months ago, was a violation of rights, local media reported.
Blocks on access to YouTube and Twitter were
imposed after audio recordings, purportedly revealing corruption
in Erdogan's inner circle, were leaked on the sites. The block
on access to Twitter was lifted in April.
Turkish authorities have so far defied orders from lesser
courts and upheld the YouTube ban, saying some of the offending
content had not been removed from the site. There was no
immediate comment from Turkey's telecoms regulator on whether it
would now lift the ban.
The ban on YouTube was imposed on March 27 in the build-up
to local elections after an illicit audio recording was leaked
of top security officials discussing possible military
intervention in Syria.
Erdogan condemned that recording, which followed a series of
other leaked wiretaps, as an act of treason. He later emerged
from the local elections with his popularity largely intact.
Erdogan accused a U.S.-based Islamic cleric of using a
network of supporters to orchestrate the internet campaign and a
police corruption investigation to undermine him. The cleric,
Fethullah Gulen, has denied any involvement.
The prime minister said on Wednesday that Gulen's network
might now leak a video about him and his family in a bid to
smear him ahead of an August presidential election in which he
is widely expected to stand.
(Writing by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Hugh