Summary:

Google’s video site is already the number-five web service in Turkey. Now it will have to work under the fast-growing country’s laws. But that could mean a big growth opportunity for the service.

Robert Kyncl YouTube CES 2012
photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Many of the major web services have been expanding to emerging markets over the last few years. Google’s travails in China are well documented, for example.

Now Google’s YouTube is setting up shop in Europe’s fastest growing internet market with official sanction – but that may call up the same kind of ethical concerns its parent has seen elsewhere.

Turkey says it has successfully convinced YouTube to operate at youtube.com.tr – a fact that means the video site will have to comply with the country’s own domestic laws on such things as censorship.

Transport and communications minister Binali Yildirim (via Reuters):

“It will now be in a binding and critical position to implement court decisions and remove any objectionable publications. Further more it will also pay taxes on its operations.”

The issues is thrown in to relief by last week’s government edict that the controversial video, The Innocence of Muslims, be censored in Turkey.

Google, Twitter and Facebook last year said they would comply with the local laws of countries in which they operate.

Turkey is not considered a wildly oppressive state, but its stance of freedom of expression has been a sticking point in Turkey’s efforts to gain European Union membership.

On the other hand, Turkey represents a tremendous business opportunity. With a young population, its online penetration surged from 15 percent in 2005 to 45 percent by late in 2011. And its 35 million users spend so much time online that they make Turkey the number-three country for time spent online per user.

YouTube.com was already the number-five site in the country last year, according to comScore.

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