We've written a few times about Turkey's odd thinking on blocking access
to large parts of Google, in part over some YouTube videos and partly over a tax dispute. We also noted that Turkey's own President indicated he was upset about the block
and would look to get it lifted. The BBC has a much more detailed article on the situation
, where it explains that the laws for blocking such websites are so convoluted and unclear, that it's often not even clear who decided to ban what and for what reason. For example, no one's even sure why Google was really banned this time around, as there are conflicted explanations. But the key point is summarized in these paragraphs:
There are two different Turkeys talking here.
There is Istanbul, buzzing with entrepreneurial activity and cultural life, where people aspire to European levels of wealth and freedom.
And there is the capital Ankara, a city of bureaucrats, the centre of military and political power. Ankara is where nearly all the internet restrictions emanate.
The article highlights journalists and businesses who are greatly harmed by the blocks, including one company who had signed up to use Google's infrastructure for their email... and now can't access their own email accounts. The reporter then goes to talk to the head of the "Ataturk Thought Association" (how's that for an Orwellian name?), which is apparently responsible for many of the blocks, as it seeks to block access to any video that it feels insults Turkey's founding father, Ataturk. She doesn't seem to care if anyone or any business is inconvenienced. To her, blocking access to such videos is much more important:
"For us Ataturk is a symbol of democracy and women's emancipation", she says. "This is about respect for him. I am not bothered by the impact of the court decision."
Of course, as part of democracy and women's emancipation, doesn't it help to have widespread access to tools of communication... like YouTube?