Turkey bans YouTube

Written by Brett Thomas

March 8, 2007 | 14:13

Tags: #greece #racism #turkey #youtube

The more technology changes things, the more some things remain the same. The wonderful world of the web allows different cultures to explore new common grounds...or re-ignite old hatreds. It's the latter that is the cause for a total blackout of YouTube in Turkey this week, after several racist videos appeared.

Turkish visitors to the online video-sharing site got an interesting surprise earlier this week. Rather than the usual front page, users instead saw text in bold red letters that read (translated): "Access to this site has been blocked by a court decision!" The decision comes handed down from Istanbul, where a prosecutor had recommended a temporary country-wide suspension of the site thanks to an incredibly insulting racist video.

Apparently, some "creative" Greek teens created an ethnic slur video focused around the founder of modern-day Turkey. This hate-video has since been deleted from YouTube's servers, but not before it sparked an online video war between the youth of the two countries. Several videos shot back and forth on the site before the Turkish government finally banned access earlier this week. The banning is based on several national reform laws passed last year, where insulting "Turkishness" is considered a crime.

This is not the first time YouTube has had problems with racist videos, but it's probably the oldest feud to make the digital move so far. The Turks and Greeks have fought this cultural war for centuries - it's amazing how much the song (or video) remains the same.

Have you got a thought on Turkey's ban? Do you consider it understandable under the circumstances? What about the move to online hate? Let us know your thoughts in our forums.
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