Turkey Blocks Access to YouTube

Access to YouTube from within Turkey was blocked Wednesday after prosecutors pointed out videos insulting the founder of the modern version of the country were appearing on the site.

Laws within the country forbid such comments that place Mustafa Kemal Ataturk or Turkey in general in a bad light, and are punishable by a prison term.

The videos in question were the result of an online battle between Turkish and Greek users of the site who were posting videos insulting each other. Videos ranging from insults about the country's founder to Greek soldiers singing songs about killing Turks have appeared on YouTube.

One video, said to be the impetus for the court action, claimed Ataturk along with the Turkish people were homosexuals. The nation's largest ISP, Turk Telecom, immediately moved to block access to YouTube, and it is expected that others would soon follow suit.

The Turkish media led calls to have the videos removed, with some news outlets saying the site had received some 220,000 e-mails demanding their removal.

The Turkish media reported Wednesday that YouTube had removed the videos, and Reuters reported that the court had taken steps to have the ban lifted after the videos were removed. However, it was not clear when the new ruling would take effect.

YouTube has so far not commented publicly on the dispute, or on the removal of the videos.

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