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Turkey Blocks Access to YouTube days after Twitter ban

Turkey has blocked access to YouTube, just a week after the country blocked Twitter, and only three days ahead of local elections in the country.

Turkish netizens started reporting the block after 10:30 a.m. ET. The ban was ordered on Thursday after leaked recordings of a security meeting were published on YouTube, according to Hurriyet Daily News.

Turkey may lift the ban if YouTube agrees to remove the leaked audio recordings, according to a source inside the prime minister office consulted by Reuters. It’s unclear at this point if Google will agree to that since the company already refused to remove videos alleging government corruption last week.

The video that led to the block was uploaded to YouTube on Thursday by an anonymous user, according to Reuters. The video purported to be an audio recording of a meeting with Turkey’s intelligence chief, the foreign minister and the deputy head of the armed forces to discuss potential military operations against Syria.

This is not the first time Turkey has blocked YouTube. A Turkish court blocked the service in 2007, after videos insulting the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk were posted to the site.

Turkey blocked Twitter last week, as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan proclaimed his intention to “eradicate” it completely, while he also threatened to shut down Facebook and YouTube.


Initially, the Twitter block was implemented only at the DNS (Domain Name System) level, meaning Turkish ISPs redirected users trying to access Twitter to other sites. Turks, with the help of Internet freedom activists around the world, quickly found ways to circumvent the ban, and they sent a record number of tweets in defiance of the block.

In response, Turkey tightened the block on Sunday and implemented it at the IP level, making it a little tougher to circumvent. But people there could still get around it using Virtual Private Network (VPN) software that tunnels the connection through a server outside of the country, or using the anonymizing tool Tor.

The YouTube block is also only at the DNS level for now, according to online activist group Telecomix and Internet monitoring firm Renesys, which noted that the block for now is “partial,” with some users still able to access it.

“It isn’t blocked universally at the DNS level at the moment,” Renesys researcher Doug Madory told Mashable. “DNS resolvers can be independently administered, so it is hard to force them all to do something.”

Madory explained that this happened when Turkey blocked Twitter as well — it took a while before it was blocked for all users.

Twitter, despite a court decision ordering the government to lift the ban, is still inaccessible in Turkey.

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March 31st, 2014


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