Google has denied the Turkish government’s request to delete politically scandalous videos on YouTube. Google announced that the Turkish government has no legal right to censor media content. This is the latest bid by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to regulate media since the Turkish government’s first attempt in 2007.
During the municipal elections, a video revealing the Prime Minister’s alleged acts of corruption was uploaded on YouTube and Twitter. Prime Minister Erdogan claimed that the video is not consistent with the facts and is a political intrigue attempting to overturn his regime. The video included a recorded phone call by Prime Minister Erdogan to his son concerning a large amount of money hidden away in his house. The video has already gotten millions of views. The banning of Twitter access by the Turkish government triggered heated debates. The opposition parties and President Abdullah Gul stipulated that the ban is an act of dictatorship and social media restrictions should not be allowed. A Google board manager announced “banning of YouTube is just a matter of time and Google is always trying to support a freely open internet. What concerns Google are the threats to obstruct this.”
Meanwhile, this is not the first challenge to YouTube from the Turkish government. Between 2007~2010, the Turkish government blocked YouTube access, because Google declined to delete videos insulting the Turkish government. This week the Turkish court overruled the ban of Twitter, but the social media platform remains blocked. According to procedure, Turkish authorities have 30 days to implement the court injunction. It appears that more time is needed for the final resolution to the problem.