Turkey has blocked YouTube, according to Reuters. This is probably linked with the recent Twitter ban there, which has been ordered overturned by a Turkish court, but it may well also be the result of heating tensions with Syria.
The week-old Twitter ban most likely had to do with a corruption scandal — people were uploading tapped recordings of government officials, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to YouTube then publicizing them through Twitter. Now YouTube itself is blocked at the order of local telecoms regulator TIB.
TIB didn’t explain the move, but on Thursday the Turkish government also decried a leaked recording in which officials mulled military operations in Syria.
The recording was posted to an anonymous YouTube account – in it, senior officials apparently discussed sending in troops to secure the tomb of the grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire, which happens to be on modern Syrian soil.
Erdoğan has previously threatened to ban YouTube and Facebook. The EU’s digital chief, Neelie Kroes, was as usual quick to respond to Turkey’s latest act of censorship:
As for the Twitter ban, a Turkish court said a couple days ago it should be overturned, and legal experts had reportedly said at the time that the block should be lifted before TIB’s appeal gets heard. However, it seems the government is holding fast, much to Twitter’s chagrin.
Turkey isn’t the only country to feel pain from sensitive matters being broadcast to the world on YouTube. The platform keeps popping up in Ukrainian politics, being recently used for the posting of embarrassing recordings of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and former prime minister (and current presidential hopeful) Yulia Tymoshenko. Those recordings almost certainly came from Russian phone taps, as they always play into Moscow’s hands.
Feature image from Thinkstock/photodisc