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Turkey has YouTube once again

John Moe Nov 2, 2010

Here’s a story about the thorny relationship between closed societies and the open internet. People in the nation of Turkey once again have access to YouTube videos after a ban on the site was lifted. The controversy dates back to 2007 when the site was banned.

That decision stemmed from complaints about videos on the site that ridiculed Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the much-revered founder of the Turkish republic. According to Turkish law, it is illegal to insult Ataturk.

“The block was put in place by a local prosecutor who demanded that we remove a number of videos from YouTube.com, our global service, because they were illegal under Turkish law — even though we had made them inaccessible to users in Turkey,” explained Scott Rubin, a spokesman for YouTube’s parent company, Google, in an e-mail to CNN.

“We refused because we do not believe that Turkish law can or should be applied outside Turkey.”

The ban was opposed by the Turkish president but wasn’t overturned until a German company claimed rights to the videos and filed a claim to have them taken down. YouTube, without the offending videos, went live within 24 hours. Since then, that claim in Germany was found to be incorrect and the videos are up, even in Turkey.

The CNN story notes that plenty of people in Turkey just went through proxy servers and were watching YouTube anyway.

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