Turkey Again Blocks Access to YouTube

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A Turkish court has again blocked access to the popular video-sharing Web site YouTube, and reports Sunday suggested the ban was a response to clips that allegedly insult Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the country's founding father.

Users trying to access the site from Turkey were met with notices in English and Turkish saying access to the Web site was banned under an Ankara court's order. The notices said the court order was issued Jan. 17.

In March, another court blocked access to YouTube, which is owned by California-based Google Inc., for two days after a complaint that some clips insulted Ataturk, a war hero who founded Turkey from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire. The ban was lifted after YouTube removed the offending videos.

Vatan newspaper said Sunday the current ban was also imposed because of videos that were allegedly disrespectful of Ataturk.

It is illegal in Turkey to insult Ataturk, a revered figure whose portrait still hangs in nearly all government offices almost 70 years since his death in 1938.

It was not clear how long the current ban would last. The state-run Anatolia said YouTube officials issued a statement saying the company hoped access would be re-established quickly.

The YouTube bans in Turkey have highlight the country's troubled record on free expression.

Several prominent Turkish journalists and writers — including Nobel literature prize winner Orhan Pamuk — have been tried for allegedly insulting "Turkishness."