YouTube blocks videos deemed 'anti-Islamic' in Turkey

YouTube blocks videos deemed 'anti-Islamic' in Turkey
The video-sharing website has complied with a Turkish court order to block a dozen clips.
2 min read
22 June, 2015
YouTube has come under fire from the Turkish authorities in the past [AFP]

While once YouTube and other new media platforms were willing to take on the Turkish government - and get banned in the process - it appears that the popular video-sharing website's resistance may have been worn down, after it quickly agreed to block 12 videos in Turkey at the request of a Turkish court.

A magistrates' court in Ankara ruled that the videos, which feature images of the Muslim Prophet Muhammed deemed to be offensive, should be banned and submitted a request to YouTube for them to be blocked in the country, a request which the Google-owned site agreed to.

YouTube could have found all its content blocked in Turkey had it not restricted access to the videos.

The videos are believed to have been made by the far-right Dutch PVV party, led by Geert Wilders - famed for his Islamophobic commentary - and are part of a party political broadcast.

Wilders later a message said to have been received from YouTube which said that the website had "received a legal complaint from the government about your video".

     The international community can say this, can say that. I don't care at all. Everyone will see how powerful the Republic of Turkey is.
- President Erdogan

"We have checked the video... which can no longer be broadcast in the following territories: Turkey," the message continued.

The censorship is the latest in a series of cases to restrict internet content in Turkey.

In April, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were all briefly blocked after they refused to take down photos of a prosecutor who had been taken hostage by leftist militants in Istanbul and later died of his injuries.

Eight hours after the order, the websites complied and the ban was revoked.

YouTube was also banned for two months in 2014, before Turkey's highest court ruled that the ban violated laws on freedom of expression.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has had several run-ins with social media sites, saying in March 2014 that Twitter would be "eradicated", should it not comply with Turkish court orders - and that such platforms would be "wiped out".

"The international community can say this, can say that," Erdogan said at a rally at the time. "I don't care at all. Everyone will see how powerful the Republic of Turkey is."