YouTube appeals to Turkey’s Constitutional Court

DPA Istanbul | Updated on April 08, 2014 Published on April 08, 2014

YouTube appealed on Monday to Turkey’s Constitutional Court to unblock access to the video-sharing platform, after the same court last week ordered a ban on Twitter be lifted.

Attorney Gonenc Gurkaynak, who filed the appeal, noted that a lower court in Ankara ruled that a blanket—ban on YouTube must be lifted as it violated the right to free speech.

However, the lower court issued a condition saying 15 specific videos should be blocked, and in the meantime the entire site has remained banned.

“It is obviously very disappointing to people and businesses in Turkey that YouTube is still blocked, and we are actively challenging the ban in the courts,” a Google spokesperson told DPA on Monday. Google owns YouTube.

Both Twitter and YouTube were blacked out in the lead up to last week’s local election, with the move drawing sharp criticism from Turkey’s allies in the NATO alliance.

Full access to Twitter was restored last week, after a two week ban.

The Constitutional Court had ruled blocking Twitter was a violation of the protected constitutional right to freedom of expression.

YouTube was blocked, by the telecommunications authorities citing a court order, after a leaked audio recording of top officials discussing a possible military intervention in northern Syria was posted to the website.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who saw his Justice and Development Party (AKP) win resoundingly in the local elections, has been waging a campaign against social media sites in recent weeks.

Twitter and YouTube have been used extensively by anonymous users to spread allegations of corruption and abuse of power by top officials in government, including Erdogan.

The prime minister was sharply critical of the Constitutional Court’s ruling on Twitter.

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Published on April 08, 2014
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