Sunday, October 31, 2010

Turkey Lifts Two-Year Ban on YouTube to Enable Access to the Site

YouTube users in Turkey should be happy because they are no longer banned from YouTube and can visit and watch videos on the site again from now on. Previously, Turkish people who visited YouTube, the most popular video sharing website in the world, mainly used proxy software or change their computer settings to watch online YouTube videos.

The ban was brought into force two and a half years ago on May, 5, 2008, as videos that insulted Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Turkey's founder, or "Turkishness" were posted on YouTube. The video in question was allegedly posted by Greeks and dubbed "Ataturk and Turks homosexuals," reports the BBC. Ankara 1st Penal Court of Peace charged these videos of breaking the Law on Crimes Against Atatürk and banned YouTube soon in Turkey.

Sources said that a German-based international licensing service bought the right to remove those controversial videos. They removed those videos and announced on Friday that they (those videos) are no longer viewable on YouTube. This licensing service is owned by a Turkish people. Upon receiving this information, the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office of Ankara ruled that the ban should be lifted and asked the Telecommunication Transmission Directorate, or TİB, to enable access to YouTube. The court in Ankara acted immediately to allow access to YouTube.

Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım, who is in charge of Internet relevant issues, spoke on Turkish television announced the ban was ended after "common sense prevailed" and then said:
"But we didn’t get here easily – we have been through a lot in the process.

I hope that they (YouTube) have also learned from this experience and the same thing will not happen again. YouTube will hopefully carry out its operations in Turkey within the limits of law in the future."

Turkish laws allow courts to block websites it deems offensive to its culture and religion. Except for the ban of YouTube, there are about 4000 websites are still blocked in Turkey.

Off-topic: YouTube users can use Leawo Free YouTube Downloader to download videos from YouTube and other websites. This software is free and safe to your computer. You can use it to download, convert and view online videos. This is its user guide.

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