by Carlo Longino

YouTube Goes Cold (In) Turkey

from the help-help-i'm-being-repressed dept

Back in January, a Brazilian judge wanted YouTube shut down after a model won a case asking for the site to be forced to take down a video of her and her boyfriend having sex in the ocean. Since that wasn't going to happen, he said Brazilian ISPs should simply block YouTube and make it inaccessible for their users. As YouTube's popularity continues to grow, these sorts of cases will become more common, and probably more ridiculous, since questions over international jurisdiction of the internet remain unresolved in many countries. Now, a Turkish court has ordered ISPs in that country to block YouTube following a spat between some Turkish and Greek users in videos on the site in which they traded insults about each other's countries. The problem is that it's illegal to criticize Turkey, "Turkishness" or the country's founder, Ataturk, so without any reasonable recourse, the court has ordered YouTube to be blocked. In the Brazilian case, the judge's order was based on a bit of misunderstanding of the internet, and he rescinded it after somebody apparently clued him in. The only misunderstanding in Turkey is thinking that banning anything on the internet really works. But the real problem here isn't the ban, the videos or YouTube -- it's with the laws regulating speech in Turkey. The country regularly charges writers and journalists with breaking the law prohibiting criticism of the country and Ataturk, most famously when it sentenced a Nobel Prize-winning author to prison for three years for comments made in an interview to a Swiss magazine, or more recently, when a Turkish-Armenian newspaper editor who had been similarly charged was murdered in January. What's perhaps a little annoying here is that YouTube actually agreed to take down the videos, rather than taking a stand against the ridiculous law. Of course, it's not the first time Google's rolled over for countries that want to censor the internet.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Ryan, Mar 7th, 2007 @ 2:09pm

    Watch out

    Well then I guess Turkey needs to block Techdirt from their country, due to the horrible truth that their country DOES have actual problems with it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Turkey, Mar 7th, 2007 @ 2:12pm


    from the really-bad-pun dept

    Turkey is a pathetic little nation. Turkishness??? What on earth is Turkishness anyways? The EU doesn't want you anyways, you smell free-speech-hating overlords.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2007 @ 2:25pm

    The day that Turkey gets into the EU... the day that the EU will start on the path to rapid destruction.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Tashi, Mar 7th, 2007 @ 2:39pm

    Religions tend to evolve and change. The wouldn't survive otherwise. Part of the problem is Islam is stuck in the 9th century in many parts of the world.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    a bulgarian guy, Mar 7th, 2007 @ 2:39pm

    It is already

    started. EU accepted us and Romania :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    dorpus, Mar 7th, 2007 @ 2:46pm

    Does anyone really want free speech?

    The EU outlaws material it considers too pro-nazi or "hateful". The US outlaws specific threats against the President.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Argh, Mar 7th, 2007 @ 2:47pm

    In response to #4

    Religion is a primitive form of government designed to rule by fear and rules from a higher power. It really has no place in the world today in its current form. People fighting over whos god is better... whats the point let people belive what they wish to belive.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    dorpus, Mar 7th, 2007 @ 3:10pm

    Wolf Valley Iraq

    Does anyone know if that Turkish movie is available with English subtitles? The plot has us believing that the US army is abducting Turks so Jewish doctors can harvest their organs and sell it to rich people in New York or London.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    TheDock22, Mar 7th, 2007 @ 3:14pm


    whats the point let people belive what they wish to belive.

    Yes, and let them spell how they wish to spell....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Whirler, Mar 7th, 2007 @ 3:14pm


    Very well put!!! One form of evil that has always existed and will continue, unless man is freed from such ignorance is that ruling or controlling ones free will by way of fear works. It is truly not the way to a peaceful existance.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Raxiux, Mar 7th, 2007 @ 4:10pm

    What is actually pathetic is that using expressions to define a whole nation based on its government's a few stupid decisions. It's no different than saying that all Americans are greedy assholes ready to spill blood all over the world killing thousands of civilians to steal oil and still be able to claim that they are protecting their country, just because their government made this decision. Youtube is accessible again, and the reaction of the majority of the users was a big factor in that.

    What is also ridiculous is that this has absolutely nothing to do with religion since Turkey is ruled by a strictly secular government. It's no more an islamic country than you are a christian country, oh, maybe less, since president of Turkey can never say that god talked him into doing some stuff.

    Continue to live in your illusion of free-speech in your country while a lot of movies can not make to your theaters just because they are politically inappropriate. But it's what you are best at isn't it, you don't mind living in illusions as long as your GDP per capita is high enough...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Aeolus.Sylvius, Mar 7th, 2007 @ 8:45pm

    Well not quite so

    There is a bit of misinformation in this article. First of all, the video in Youtube is not criticizing Turkey or her founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the video is obnoxiously insulting them with disgusting and obscene profanities, with words I dare not use for my most hated enemies (for the sake of argument of course, I do not really have any enemies). Second of all, the Nobel price winning writer was not sentenced, he appeared in the court, and all charges were dropped. Having said that, I agree that blocking of Youtube by all ISPs in Turkey was a ridiculous act, as is the law that resulted in it. FYI, The aforementioned law is under review for change by the government. As far as taking the video offline goes, I bet that type of a video would not even lasted 2 minutes on Youtube if it was about George Washington or Queen Elizabeth or Nelson Mandela or MLK junior.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Paul, Mar 7th, 2007 @ 10:50pm


    Step 1: Make ridiculous headline about turkey which numerous news sources before you have done better
    Step2: Outline the article but leave out the specifics, such as how offensive the video really was, thus being a bad source of news and more of a "shocker story" rag.
    Step 3: ????
    Step 4: Profit!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    No, Mar 8th, 2007 @ 12:06am

    Re: Profit?

    You should watch some of the responses the Turks uploaded. If it was up to them they would kill off all Armenians, Kurds, Cypriots and Greeks. They're no angels (and their courts are ignorant, too).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 8th, 2007 @ 6:25am

    Where exactly are you getting this information that "YouTube has agreed to take down the videos" or that "Google has rolled over"? There is nothing of the sort in the original article.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 8th, 2007 @ 6:50am


    #15, RTFA:

    "It is illegal to criticise either Ataturk or Turkishness in Turkey and the prosecutor’s office in Istanbul acted despite YouTube’s agreement to take down the offending videos."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 8th, 2007 @ 7:13pm

    It is NOT illegal to "criticise" anything in Turkey, it is illegal to "insult", and this is taken seriously when done to someone who is considered the founder of the country.The video wasn't criticism, it wasn't politically unpopular speech, it was clearly an insult.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, Mar 10th, 2007 @ 2:05am


    Ataturk and his political party were not siants, they used violence and political tactics which make Dubya, Howard, and Blair look like God, Gabriel, and St. Michael. HE also was not the saviour of Turkey form the daranelles campaign, Kitchener lost it and his *German* advisor (read commander) won it (somewhat like in the American revolution Washington was a sort of relay between M. le Marquis de laFayette and the American troops)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, Mar 10th, 2007 @ 2:08am

    Re: @3

    Let them in, Let them in.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    osaks, Mar 10th, 2007 @ 7:19am

    let's give up insulting

    As a Turkish citizen, I am against any kind of cencorship in internet. Blocking youtube is not a very clever act done by Turkey. Somebody in Greece send a video to you youtube and insulting Ataturk - founder of Turkey- and the whole Turkish nation. There are always racist people in every nation and I hate these people. I have no problem with Greek people. I say let's give up these hysteric racist acts and try to understand eachother more.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    uLuTurk Bozkurt, Jan 19th, 2008 @ 11:37am

    C*C*C* TURAN will coming.

    Since the great leader, Ataturk died, Unfortunately, Turkiye has begun to try to participate in EU, because it see the way of going towards liberation in participating in EU. Turkiye is regarded as an enemy by nearly all countries. I do not know why. Maybe the past in which Turks achievements against Europe affects this view. Since the great leader, Ataturk died, nobody who is a Turk has not governed the country. Democracy, rights of human and something like this are just a pretext to detain Turkiye. If do you wanna see democracy in Turkiye, you can look at the parliement of the country. The parliement which Ataturk found, is full of terrorists. There is no country which has a democracy such this. Some of you said that "there is no freedom of speech in Turkey" Can u say u idiot IS THERE freedom of speech in France? can you say that "there is no genocide against armenians" in France? Can you speak any language instead of German in Germany? is there any radio which broadcast in Turkish or in any different language? Are you able to live in holland without going cources of holland-language? IS there any country which has not commit a genocide against real owners of that country? Germany-jewish, Denmark-Eskimos, France-Algerian, England-various nations, Sweden-Lapon(Samer), USA-Indians. Turkish society says that they are ready to share historical documents to remove the questions about (namely) genocide. However nobody answer this offer. Dont forget you europens we dont see you as an enemy and we dont need to EU as well, there is a activity which provide us for an union between TURKIC people in middle Asia. petrol is there, richness is there and also we are coming from same race. We teached you how to take a bath, we teached you how to use toilet, we teached you how to wear, You saw the prosperity in our lands. You germans when you were in terrible with frenches you requested for help and we sent some ottoman clothes to you instead of soldier, you weared those, stand in front of french soldiers they ran away and finally thanked us. Dont forget all these. When Turkish people wake up, you will see.

    What about the cencorship?

    Turkish people watch all the stupid videos which insult Ataturk or values of Turkish people and watching the videos was forbidden. When Turkish people can't watch these kinds of videos, uploading these videos will be stopped? Of cource NO! Cencorship cannot solve any problem. Turkish people are very emotional, when they hear something which is against values of Turkishness they immediately react to it. Moreover, Turkish school children pledge alligience to Ataturk at the beginning of each school day.Thus, Ataturk is very very important for them. If is there anyone who want to know life of Ataturk and his achievements you can go ( df) this site if your government does not ban it :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Nikki, Mar 25th, 2008 @ 7:39am


    As someone who lived in Turkey for 8 years, I would have to say that there is censorship there. When I was employed as an English teacher, I had to sign something that stated that I would never say anything bad about Turks, the school I taught at and especially about Ataturk. You are taught from kindergarten on, that Ataturk was a great man. This is a fact that you cannot question - indoctrination. That is not to say, as others have pointed out, that it doesn't exist else where in the world. All countries have their good and bad points.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    robert hagopian, Jul 8th, 2008 @ 11:03am

    they are cowards

    they deny the genocide of the Armenians, they are more controlled than China. Too many people are afraid to speak out against these cowards who spent the better part of the 1900s committing war crimes against women and children. these big bad muslim toughguys didnt engage in battles against opposing soldiers, they kidnapped regular people women children and the elderly and forced them to march until they died. my grandmother had pictures she had acquired of these savages with dead babies on spears. big tough guys killing starving armenian babies.
    Tell you what turks, this armenian is not afraid of you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    anonymous, Sep 1st, 2008 @ 4:37am

    for those who comments

    mind on your business!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. identicon
    zeliha orbay, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 4:08am

    but whyyyyy?


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Greetings from Turkey, Jul 4th, 2009 @ 3:52am

    Please educate youself

    Hello My Friends
    I highly recommend you to do a little bit research before commenting like this. If you are looking for a genocide look at your libraries first.Germany-jewish genocide, Denmark-Eskimos genocide, France-Algerian genocide, England-various nations, Sweden-Lapon(Samer), USA-Indians genocide.
    Rwanda genocide was in 1994 and its only responsible was belgium.How can you forget something very recent?

    UNLIKE Armenian government, we opened all our history records and libraries for historians to study! Please be our guests and come to Turkey to study deeply before telling genocide tales.

    Small information: Armenian-Turkey border is blocked not because of these genocide tales.It is blocked bacause they invade in Nagorno-Karabakh!
    By the was Oscar goes to the guy that says Turkey is a little pathetic nation:) We were ruling most of the "Old World" while you are trying to silence Copernicus and Galilei bacause their sayings are not the ones that "The Church" wants to hear.. Does it make Europe pathetic?
    No, You were underdeveloped those time.
    Now Turkey and most of the countries you dislike are underdeveloped.And other countries are NOT helping us to develop.
    Your government makes you feel like you are such a civilized nation but in reality you are sleeping!!!!

    Wake up, educate yourself,gain a peaceful perspective towards everybody, educate everybody around you

    (By the way, watch Zeitgeist guys!)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.