Thursday, 27 March 2014
Access to video-sharing site YouTube has been cut off in Turkey, following a new leak of a government meeting compromising Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. Other social media outlets have already been blocked ahead of a tumultuous election.
The latest leaked audio recording, which reportedly led to the ban, shows Erdogan discussing a potential invasion of Syria with his security chiefs.
The Turkish foreign ministry has issued a statement, calling the leak a “wretched attack” on national security. It also claims the audio was “partially manipulated”.
A source inside the presidential office told Reuters that access may be restored if the sensitive content is removed.
Invoking national security and privacy concerns has been the government’s tactic in fighting off a stream of leaks showing top officials engaging in unsavory or downright illegal practices.
Erdogan has also repeatedly claimed that most of the audio recordings are fakes. He labeled the latest audio revelation “villainous” during a stump speech in Diyabakir.
Twitter was blocked in Turkey on March 20, after a court order.
Since then, the California-based social network and organizations in Turkey have fought in several courts to have the decision reversed, calling it “disproportionate and illegal.”
A ruling in Ankara on Wednesday supported the appeal, but the country’s regulator has a month to unblock Twitter, leading to speculation that any such move would only take place after the election.
The incumbent party also enjoys the benefit of robust privacy legislation passed last month, which makes it easy to cut off any website even before any violation has been legally proven.