Turkey blocks YouTube

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a rally of his Justice and Development Party in Elazig, Turkey, on March 6

ISTANBUL—Turkey’s telecommunications authority on Thursday blocked Google’s video sharing website YouTube, exactly a week after preventing people from accessing Twitter in a move likely to intensify domestic and international criticism just three days ahead of critical local elections.

The move came just hours after a leaked recording published on YouTube purporting to show a conversation where Turkey’s foreign minister, spy chief and a top general appear to discuss scenarios which could lead to a Turkish attack against jihadist militants in Syria.

The block was announced on the telecommunications authority’s website, which said it had taken an “administrative measure” against the site “after technical analysis and legal consideration.”

Google didn’t immediately respond to calls for comment.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly said that YouTube would be blocked unless it abides by Turkey’s laws.

In recent months, Twitter and YouTube have become key fronts in a new political struggle between Mr. Erdogan and Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based imam and former ally who has in the past two years become the premier’s nemesis.

Two accounts, alleged by government supporters to be run by Gulenists, have leaked documents and phone conversations daily, purporting to connect Mr. Erdogan to a graft investigation that has implicated dozens of his closest allies.

See this Reuters article for details on the YouTube posting, concerning the Tomb of Suleyman Shah, the father of the founder of the Ottoman Empire, whose tomb is in Syria. Turkey considers to be its terrority under a treaty signed with France in 1921. Syrian jihadis are threatening to blow it up.

Share