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YouTube Blocked in Turkey Ahead of Elections

| 27 Mar 2014 16:05
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One week after blocking access to Twitter in Turkey and three days ahead of local elections, Turkey has blocked YouTube.

Access to YouTube in Turkey has just been blocked by Turkey's telecommunications authority (TIB) as "an administrative measure" to leaked recordings of Turkish officials. TIB instituted the block just hours after the recording was published to YouTube.

TIB similarly prevented access to Twitter in Turkey a week ago. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said before that YouTube would be blocked if it did not abide by Turkey's laws. Other social media sites could also see access restricted or blocked. A court in the capital, Ankara, ordered TIB to lift the ban on Twitter, but the order may not take effect for a few weeks.

Social media have helped expose political struggles and corruption. The leaked video to YouTube published today reportedly captured a conversation in which Turkey's foreign minister, spy chief, and a top general discussed scenarios that could lead to an attack against Syrian militants. Reuters news agency examined the recording and could not verify its authenticity but noted it was the most damaging leak so far. TIB announced the block on its website, saying it had taken administrative measures "after technical analysis and legal consideration."

People on Twitter and YouTube in Turkey have depicted political struggles between Erdogan and Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based imam and former ally of Erdogan. Erdogan has been in the midst of scandals of corruption, and an earlier leaked recording suggested he orchestrated the release of a sex tape in 2010 concerning former Republican People's Party leader, Baykal.

Erdogan faces key local elections this Sunday, March 30. He accused social media of spreading misinformation.

Source: BBC, Wall Street Journal

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