The Turkish government carried on with its crackdown on the internet and added YouTube to its notoriously long list of banned web sites. The YouTube blockage came hours after a key security meeting was held in the foreign ministry’s office to discuss leaks on the internet of voice recordings of high-level officials, allegedly heard talking about the Syria issue.
There is still no official announcement by the TIB, the government authority in charge of internet regulation and the organ who implements blocking decisions. However, YouTube’s URL and title appeared on BTK’s (higher organ that includes TIB) web page where the blocked URLs are listed.
The site is still accessible through some ISPs, but the blocking is expected to be fully implemented in an hour’s time by all ISPs.
The government banned last week on the grounds that the company failed to remove ‘illegal’ content on request, according to the Turkish authorities. Yesterday an administrative court ruled for the suspension of the Twitter ban.
Last week, Google Inc. announced it had declined requests coming from the Turkish government in recent weeks to remove YouTube videos revealing extensive corruption involving the PM, his family, ministers, businessmen and several government officials, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The videos included wiretapped sound recordings where, for example, the PM calls his son at home to warn him to hide large sums of money from the investigators. It is alleged to be around a couple of million dollars.
UPDATE: As of this moment (3:04PM-GMT) access to YouTube via all ISPs in Turkey is blocked. Below is the screenshot of the TIB’s page where the blocking decision is published. What we understand from the text is that the blocking decision is taken by TIB as a precautionary measure, that is, without a court order:
The notice in English on the right column of TİB’s page reads: “After technical analysis and legal consideration based on the Law Nr. 5651, ADMINISTRATION MEASURE has been taken for this website (Youtube.com) according to Decision Nr. 490.05.01.2014.-48125 dated 27/03/2014 of Telekomünikasyon İletişim Başkanlığı”
Update: Google made an official announcement about situation.
Attributable to a spokesperson of Google Inc
“We’re seeing reports that some users are not able to access YouTube in Turkey. There is no technical issue on our side and we’re looking into the situation.”