Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s attempt to stifle political unrest by denying access to social platforms continues today with reports that YouTube has been blocked in the country. The ban comes shortly after a video depicting Turkish officials discussing the Syrian conflict was posted to YouTube and follows an ineffective attempt to block access to Twitter.
The Twitter ban, which was criticized by Turkish President Abdullah Gul and largely ignored by Turkish citizens, was overturned by a court in Turkey’s capital on Wednesday. Yet Erdogan “continued to assail Twitter, saying the ban will remain in place unless the service complies with local Turkish court rulings to remove some content,” the New York Times said Thursday.
Erdogan drew connections between Twitter and YouTube in his condemnation of the ruling, saying that YouTube and its lawyers were behind Twitter’s decision to ignore Turkish requests to remove some information from its service. (Twitter says that it actually complied with the request by deleting two accounts and preventing a third from being viewed within Turkey.) Now it seems that Erdogan has focused his attentions on banning YouTube, which he believes is the force behind this conspiratorial curtain, despite no evidence to support these claims.
The bans are unlikely to stop there. Erdogan condemned Facebook earlier this month, saying on Turkey’s state television channel that he “will not leave this nation at the mercy of YouTube and Facebook,” leading the Guardian to suggest that he might seek to ban the services after the elections scheduled for March 30. Essentially every social platform that allows Turkey’s citizens to see and share (purported) evidence of (alleged) corruption is in Erdogan’s sights.