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Turkish court bars YouTube access after videos 'insulting' Ataturk

[JURIST] A Turkish court Wednesday ordered telecom providers in the country to block access to YouTube [corporate website] because of videos insulting the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk [Turkish News profile]. The controversial videos have caused an uproar among Turks and led to prosecutors recommending the website be banned. During the past week, the country's media has been reporting a "virtual war" on YouTube between Turkey and Greece [JURIST news archives], in which citizens of both countries have been creating videos to mock the other. Paul Doany, the head of Turkey's largest telecom company Turk Telekom [corporate website], said his company would remove the block on YouTube if the court withdrew its order. AP has more.

In Turkey, insulting Ataturk is an imprisonable offense. Similarly, "insulting the Turkish identity" is also a serious crime under the controversial Article 301 [Amnesty backgrounder; JURIST news archive] of Turkey's penal code [text, in Turkish]. Critics say Turkey has used Article 301 to silence government critics, which has presented a stumbling block [JURIST report] to the nation's proposed ascension to the European Union.

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