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Turkey ends weeklong YouTube ban

[JURIST] Turkey Thursday lifted a nationwide ban imposed last week on the popular video-sharing website YouTube [corporate website]. Last week, a Turkish court ordered Turk Telecom [corporate website] to block access to YouTube [JURIST report] in reported response to video clips insulting the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk [Turkish News profile]. It was not immediately clear whether access to the website was resumed because the controversial clips were removed. A Turkish court issued a similar order [JURIST report] in March 2007 in response to a “virtual war” on YouTube between Turkey and Greece, in which citizens of both countries posted videos mocking each other. 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 [OSCE review of the Draft Turkish Penal Code, PDF], which has presented a stumbling block [JURIST report] to the country’s proposed accession to the European Union.

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