Turkey’s ongoing war against freedom of speech took yet another dark turn today. Just a week after blocking access to Twitter, Turkey has now blocked YouTube as well. The YouTube block came after leaked recordings of a security meeting were uploaded by person or persons unknown.
The video that led to the block was uploaded to YouTube on Thursday by an anonymous user, according to Reuters. The video purported to be an audio recording of a meeting with Turkey’s intelligence chief, the foreign minister and the deputy head of the armed forces to discuss potential military operations against Syria.
With only 9 days until elections in that country, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is waging an all out assault against freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom generally. He vowed to “eradicate” Twitter from the country last week after ordering it blocked. He’s also threatened to ban Facebook too.
Erdogan accuses the social networks of breaking Turkish law and spreading lies and disinformation.
“I cannot understand how sensible people still defend Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. They run all kinds of lies,” he declared at an election rally.
By “lies” of course he means citizens speaking freely on the Internet about how much it sucks living under a corrupt dictator and perhaps in 9 days they should vote he and his cronies out of office. He also doesn’t like the coverage his grotesque corruption scandal gets on social media. Recordings appeared online of Erdogan talking to his son about rigging court cases and hiding vast sums of money. He called the recordings “vile” fakes created by his political rivals and blamed social media for spreading the so-called lies. He says he’s obliged to act against social networks for “threatening his country’s security.”
Erdogan, who has been in power for 11 years, said he was obliged to act to counter “any attack threatening my country’s security”.
“If Twitter acts honestly, we are ready to support it. If YouTube acts honestly, we are ready to give every support. If Facebook gives up immoralities… it will receive support,” he added.
For now, the YouTube block is only at the DNS level so it’s fairly simple to get around it. Turkey could decide to block YouTube at the IP level as they did for Twitter.