YouTube awaits Turkey's return

March 27, 2008 11:44:54 AM PDT
YouTube has removed several video clips that prompted Turkish authorities to block access to the video-sharing Web site and expects that access will be restored soon, the company said. The videos, which a Turkish prosecutor deemed insulting to the country's revered founding father, were removed, YouTube said in a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press on Thursday.

"We reviewed the videos that led to the most recent ban on access and removed them because of their content, which violate YouTube's content policy," it said in Turkish.

Two weeks ago a court in the capital, Ankara, imposed a ban on access to the site at the request of a prosecutor who had argued the clips were disrespectful to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, a war hero who founded Turkey from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire in the 1920s.

Access to the site in Turkey remained blocked on Thursday morning, and Turkish authorities could not be reached for comment on when access might resume.

Turkey has imposed temporary bans on access to YouTube on similar grounds in the past, but access was restored in each case after the Web site removed videos that had drawn Turkish complaints.

Under Turkish law, it is a crime to insult Ataturk, who died seven decades ago.

The YouTube bans in Turkey have highlighted the country's troubled record on free expression, which Turkey wants to improve as part of its bid to join the European Union.