Turkey blocks YouTube despite backlash from Twitter ban
Burhan Ozbilici, Associated Press
The Turkish government, which banned the social networking website Twitter last week, has also decided to prevent its citizens from accessing YouTube.
The government banned YouTube because a conversation between officials reportedly about considering going to war with Syria was exposed on the website, according to CNN.
"These gangs of treachery are the enemies of our state and people," said the Turkish Foreign Ministry in a statement responding to the video. "The perpetrators of this attack targeting the security of our state and people will be found out in the shortest time and will be handed over to justice to be given the heaviest penalty."
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is adamantly opposed to social media networks (especially Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) because people have used the websites to accuse the government of corruption, reported The Hurriyet Daily News. He has described Twitter as "trouble" and said "unmitigated lies are there."
"We'll eradicate Twitter," Erdogan said. "I don't care what the international community says. Everyone will witness the power of the Turkish Republic."
Brian Fung at The Washington Post said the government's decision to restrict social media will backfire. He explained that Turks are resisting and Twitter users are finding ways to get through the block.
"In short, Turkey's Twitter ban is as porous as the paywall on this website," said Fung. "Erdogan's attempt to stifle social media isn't working, and may even be inflaming the opposition."
Fung said other government leaders who cracked down on social media — including Tunisia's Zine El Abedine Ben Ali and Egypt's Hosni Mubarak — were deposed after they censored social media, and these examples should serve as a lesson to Erdogan.
He added that Erdogan's decision to restrict social media is "an age-old move out of the dictators' playbook: Control the flow of information, and you control the people."
However, that play does not work well in our information-rich age.
"Unfortunately for Erdogan and others like him, it's easier than ever not only to get around the controls, but also to tell the rest of the world about them," said Fung.
A Turkish court countermanded the government's restriction of Twitter, but the website is not available yet, reported CNN.
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