Turkey lifts ban on YouTube

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Screenshot of the message YouTube visitors in Turkey used to find

Turkey has lifted its ban on YouTube, more than two years after it blocked access to the video-sharing website. The government blocked access because the site contains videos deemed insulting to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the country's founder. Atatürk founded the country in 1923.

Türk Telekom was ordered to block access to YouTube in May 2008 after Greek users posted some videos insulting the country's founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. As a candidate of the European Union, Turkey implemented reforms in regards to freedom of expression. Under article 301 of the Turkish penal code, public denigration of Turkishness, the Republic of Turkey, Atatürk, and other national symbols, is a crime in Turkey.

The ban was widely criticised by many Turks, even by the President Abdullah Gül who used his Twitter page to condemn the move.

Minister of Transport Binali Yıldırım said "The reasons for the YouTube ban do not exist anymore, because the offending videos had been removed. YouTube will hopefully carry out its operations in Turkey within the limits of law in the future."

YouTube issued a statement saying that some of the offending material was removed by third parties, and not the website itself. YouTube says the videos were removed after someone used the automated copyright complaint service.

"We want to be clear that a third party, not YouTube, have apparently removed some of the videos that have caused the blocking of YouTube in Turkey using our automated copyright complaint process," said YouTube in its statement. An investigation is being carried out to determine if the complaints were made according to the site's terms of use.

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