A week after the ban on Twitter, Turkey has now gone on to block YouTube. It comes on the heels of the leaked audio purporting to be the recording of a high-profile security meeting. It assumes political hue with local elections, barely three days from now.
Last week, Turkey also blocked Twiter. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had expressed a clear intention to eradicate it. He also evinced his dislike for Facebook and YouTube and threatened similar treatment for them as well. The elections are being deemed the referendum on the rule of Erdogan.
On Thursday, the users began to report the block after 10.30 ET. It followed the leak of audio recording of a meeting between Turkey’s intelligence chief, the foreign minister and the deputy head of the armed forces. The meeting was convened to find suitable pretext for a military attack on Syria.
One of the two recordings has been listened to more than 140,000 times. Right after the audio file went online, Turkey government swung into action bringing down YouTube with immediate effect.
It isn’t as shocking as it may appear because Turkey had blocked YouTube in 2007 as well. It was blocked as a result of videos uploaded on YouTube, reportedly insulting Mustafa Kemal Ataturk considered to be the founder of modern Turkey.
As for YouTube, Turkey may lift the ban if YouTube removes the alleged audio that Google may not concede. In a similar incident, it was reported that the search giant refused to toe the line and remove the videos that charge the government with corrupt practices.
The government-imposed ban on Turkish media from broadcasting the details of the leaked audio has drawn flak from international community. The ban on Twitter and YouTube has placed Turkey in the elite little league of China, Syria, North Korea and other countries having little tolerance for free speech.
YouTube and Twitter had turned into battlegrounds for the intense political strife between Mr Erdogan and Fethullah Gulen. This ban on YouTube has rendered it even more acute.