The Turkish government’s attack on social media is picking up speed as YouTube comes under the spotlight for refusing to take down video content that alleges government corruption. Google received requests from Turkey to remove certain videos but responded that there was no legal basis for doing so. Last week, the country instigated a block on Twitter, citing false accusations of political and economic corruption. Technology-savvy citizens were still able to access the site via a Google DNS server workaround but Turkey has now blocked this gateway. From a couple of days, internet users could set their mobile device or PC to use Google’s DNS IP address of 126.96.36.199, but yesterday the Turkish authorities shut down access to the servers.
According to the WSJ, the offending YouTube videos include alleged recordings of a conversation between Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his son about plans to hide money from investigators. Erdogan insists the videos are part of a plan to overthrow his government. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney condemned the crackdown on social media in the following statement:
The United States is deeply concerned that the Turkish government has blocked its citizens’ access to basic communication tools. We oppose this restriction on the Turkish people’s access to information, which undermines their ability to exercise freedoms of expression and association and runs contrary to the principles of open governance that are critical to democratic governance and the universal rights that the United States stands for around the world. We have conveyed our serious concern to the Turkish government, urge Turkish authorities to respect the freedom of the press by permitting the independent and unfettered operation of media of all kinds, and support the people of Turkey in their calls to restore full access to the blocked technologies.
Turkish authorities blocked YouTube in 2007, and again in January of 2009. Other Google services have also been subject to temporary bans such as Docs and Translate.