Turkey bars YouTube after Greek jibes

Tony Grew March 8, 2007
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The centuries-long feud between Turkey and Greece took a technological turn yesterday.

Internet video hosting site YouTube has become the latest battleground for patriots from the two neighbouring countries to trade insults.

However, a video posting alleging that all Turks are gay, as was the modern Republic’s beloved founder, Ataturk, proved too much.

Turks are devoted to the memory of Ataturk, and slandering his name is punishable by imprisonment.

The febrile Turkish press has pounced on the story of Greeks posting insulting YouTube videos as yet another example of their neighbour’s villany, and demanded that something be done.

A court in Istanbul banned the YouTube website, and the country’s largest telecoms company, TurkTelecom, complied.

Anyone trying to access the site from Turkey instead finds a message telling them that a court has blocked them from seeing it.

“We are not in the position of saying that what YouTube did was an insult, that it was right or wrong,” a spokesman for TurkTelecom told Anatolia news agency.

“A court decision was proposed to us, and we are doing what that court decision says.”

Turkish courts have a history of banning things, including gay material.

An issue of the country’s only gay magazine was banned last July.

Judge Tekman Savas Nemli decided on the confiscation and seizure of Kaos GL after Republican Prosecutor Metin Sezgin claimed the content breached “general morality.”

The issue contained a feature in which pornography is questioned and contributed by the figures who are experts in their fields.

The decision of the Ankara Chief Republican Prosecutor’s Office Press Crimes Investigation Bureau uses the expression that some texts and pictures are against “protection of general morality”.

Turkey’s gay and lesbian magazine had been published regularly since September 1994.

A recent poll conducted by the Open Society Institute and Istanbul’s Bogazici University found that three quarters of Turks disapprove of gays and lesbians

As part of its application for membership of the European Union, Turkey is expected to allow greater rights including freedom of speech and press and greater rights for the gay community.

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