Turkey tries to ban YouTube after Syria leak – will it work?

Mar 28, 2014

Turkey's attempt to stop people using video-sharing website YouTube are doomed to fail, analysts say

OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images

THE Turkish government has imposed a ban on YouTube a week after it tried to block the social networking site Twitter. But analysts say that the blackout is unlikely to be effective.

The block was ordered after an audio recording of a high-level security meeting was reportedly leaked on the video-sharing site. According to reports in the Turkish media, the ban was imposed by Turkey's telecommunications authority (TİB) as a "precautionary administrative measure".

The leaked recording captured a "highly confidential" conversation between officials related to potential military operations in Syria, the BBC reports.

Critics say the move is another attempt by the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government to suppress online debate ahead of elections at the weekend.

Some users reported that they could not connect to YouTube last night and this morning. A spokesperson from Google, the owner of YouTube, told Reuters that "there is no technical issue on our side and we're looking into the situation".

Turkey previously tried to block YouTube in 2007, The Guardian recalls, but users were still able to reach the site using "virtual private networks" (VPNs) – which allow people to connect to the web anonymously – or by simply changing the domain name settings on their computer.

Judging by the success of the government's attempt to block Twitter, the ban on YouTube is unlikely to work, technology website Motherboard says: "Twitter saw a record number of Turkish visits in the first day of its apparent block, with access easily attained by changing DNS settings, using VPNs, sending tweets by text, or taking to the deep web via browsers like Tor."

Some other Turkish users have circumvented the block simply by using the rival video-sharing site Vimeo, Motherboard adds.

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