Turkey Bans YouTube Over Leaked Discussion on Syria Intervention

March 27, 2014  

Turkish authorities have banned YouTube, in the latest blow to free speech in the country and just one day after Turkey’s Supreme Court overturned a ban on the social media site Twitter.

Turkey’s Telecommunications Directorate has blocked access to the popular video sharing platform hours after users leaked an audio recording of a private conversation between Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and the country’s top military and intelligence figures.

In the recording, senior officials are heard discussing possible military intervention in Syria. 

According to My Zaman, the conversation included a discussion on the viability of “a possible operation to secure the tomb of Suleyman Shah, grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire, in an area of northern Syria largely controlled by militant Islamists.”

“An operation against ISIS has international legitimacy,” says one voice identified as that of foreign ministry undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu, speaking about the Al Qaeda splinter group which controls the tomb.

We will define it as Al Qaeda. There are no issues on the Al Qaeda framework. When it comes to the Suleyman Shah tomb, it’s about the protection of national soil,” the voice continues.

Turkish officials have refused to confirm or deny the authenticity of the tape.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has defended his administration’s draconian measures blocking access to social media sites, saying “I cannot understand how sensible people still defend Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. They run all kinds of lies.” 

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