Turkey lifts two-year YouTube ban

November 1st, 2010 - 9:41 pm ICT by BNO News  

ISTANBUL, TURKEY (BNO NEWS) — Turkey on Monday lifted a ban on YouTube that was imposed about two and a half years ago after government officials said it had several insulting videos to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic.

The lifting of the ban was prompted following the removal of four videos after a German company bought the copyrights of several videos, including the ones that are considered an insult to Turkey.

“The ban has been removed,” Binali Yıldırım, Minister of Transport, said on Turkish TV news channel NTV. “But we didn’t get here easily, we have been through a lot in the process. I hope that they have also learned from this experience and the same thing will not happen again. YouTube will hopefully carry out its organization in Turkey within the limits of law in the future.”

But Yıldırım had previously stated that the access ban to YouTube - enforced on May 5, 2008 - was not only created because of the insults against Atatürk, explaining that the website had refused to open up a representation in Turkey and thus evaded Turkish tax laws.

“I am pleased to hear that after three years, people in Turkey can once again freely access YouTube,” said Dunja Mijatovic, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media. “The ban prevented Internet users in Turkey from being part of the global information society.”

“I hope that this breakthrough is only the first in the lifting of bans on Internet websites in Turkey,” Mijatovic added. “I encourage Turkey to continue in this direction by reforming its Internet law and lift remaining website bans.”

YouTube explained that the videos were removed by a third party and not the website itself, adding that it would further investigate the case to verify whether the removal was in accordance to the website’s copyright policy.

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