March 8, 2007 / 12:52 AM / in 11 years

Turkey blocks YouTube over insult

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turk Telekom blocked access to Google’s YouTube video-sharing site on Wednesday after a court ruling over videos deemed insulting to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey.

<p>Young people spend time surfing the Internet in a cafe in Trabzon, Turkey January 24, 2007. Turk Telekom blocked access to Google's YouTube video-sharing site on Wednesday after a court ruling over videos deemed insulting to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. REUTERS/Umit Bektas</p>

Turk Telekom Chairman Paul Doany told a news conference that the company, Turkey’s biggest fixed-line operator, had blocked the site after a court ruling on Tuesday evening.

However, an Istanbul prosecutor told Reuters the court had on Wednesday made a second ruling lifting the block after YouTube removed the offending video from its site. It was not clear when the lifting of the block would go into effect.

Insulting Ataturk is a criminal offence in Turkey.

Doany also said access to the site may be possible through other service providers and that it would lift the block when it was told to do so.

Turkish media said hundreds of thousands of Turks had complained about the video which featured insults written in English over a picture of Ataturk and the Turkish flag.

Vatan newspaper said the latest video was part of a ‘virtual war’ between historical rivals Turkey and Greece, with nationals of the two countries exchanging insults.

additional reporting by Ercan Ersoy

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