September 23, 2014
A YouTube Ban Expands Turkey's Internet Crackdown

A YouTube ban has been put in place by the Turkish government because of an audio recording leaked on the site. This seems to be business as usual for the Turkish government. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened in the past to shut down both YouTube and Facebook.

An anonymous user posted the audio recording claiming it was part of a conversation between the Turkish head of intelligence, the deputy chief of the Turkish military, undersecretary of the foreign ministry, and the Turkish foreign minister. The voices in the recording are heard talking about a potential military strike against Syria.

The three voices in the YouTube recording are heard discussing the possibility an operation in which they would capture the tomb of Suleyman Shah, the Ottoman Empire's founder. The voices cite a 1921 treaty between Turkey and France which supports their claim to the tomb. In the YouTube audio recording a voice claims they have"international legitimacy" for running military operations against the Islamic State of Iraq. The voice also presents the issue as one of "protecting national soil."

The authenticity of the YouTube audio is still in question the BBC reports, "Reuters news agency, which examined the recording, said it could not verify its authenticity but it was potentially the most damaging purported leak so far as it appeared to have originated from the bugging of a highly confidential and sensitive conversation."

According to CNN, "Turkey's top media regulating agency announced a similar ban on the broadcast of the conversation to television and radio channels."

Turkey's chief media regulating agency, the Radio and Television Supreme Council, announced on its website, "It is seen as appropriate that a temporary broadcast ban be implemented on the voice recordings on social media and alleged to be between the foreign minister, the head of the National Intelligence Agency and military officials."

The current YouTube ban follows a Twitter ban just last week. Twitter users are able to get around the Twitter ban by tweeting from their mobile phones. Unfortunately it is unlikely there will be an easy work-around for the YouTube ban.

YouTube is owned by Google. A Google spokesperson told CNN regarding the ban, "We're seeing reports that some users are not able to access YouTube in Turkey. There is no technical issue on our side and we're looking into the situation."

An official at Turkey's prime ministry told CNN, "If there are recordings similarly threatening to national security, there can be similar precautions taken on other social media."

There is likely to be more internet bans on sites like YouTube as it seems to be a commonly used governing tool in Turkey.