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Turkish court
orders YouTube blocked after video calls citizens gay

Turkish court
orders YouTube blocked after video calls citizens gay

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A Turkish court in Istanbul ordered access to YouTube's Web site blocked on Wednesday because of videos allegedly insulting the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The video prompting the ban allegedly said Ataturk and the Turkish people were homosexuals, news reports said.

A Turkish court in Istanbul ordered access to YouTube's Web site blocked on Wednesday because of videos allegedly insulting the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The video prompting the ban allegedly said Ataturk and the Turkish people were homosexuals, news reports said.

Paul Doany, head of Turk Telekom, Turkey's largest telecommunications provider, said his company had immediately begun enforcing the ban. "We are not in the position of saying that what YouTube did was an insult, that it was right or wrong," Doany said in remarks to the state-run Anatolia news agency. "A court decision was proposed to us, and we are doing what that court decision says."

Visitors to the YouTube site from Turkey were greeted with the message "Access to this site has been blocked by a court decision!" A message in both Turkish and English at the bottom of the page said, "Access to https://www.youtube.com site has been suspended in accordance with decision no: 2007/384 dated 06.03.2007 of Istanbul First Criminal Peace Court."

Doany said Turk Telekom would allow access to the popular video sharing site again if the court decision were rescinded. Access from Turkey might be possible through other service providers, he said. The vast majority of Turkish Internet users use Turk Telekom, a state-run monopoly until it was privatized in 2005.

Over the past week Turkish media publicized what some called a "virtual war" between Greeks and Turks on YouTube, with people from both sides posting videos to belittle and berate the other.

On its front page on Wednesday, the newspaper Hurriyet said thousands of people had written to YouTube and that the Ataturk videos had been removed from the site. "YouTube got the message," the headline said.

Insulting Ataturk or "Turkishness" is a crime in Turkey, punishable by prison sentences.

Turkey, which hopes to join the European Union, has been roundly condemned for not doing enough to curb extreme nationalist sentiments and to protect freedom of expression. (Benjamin Harvey, AP)

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