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Turkey blocks YouTube after Syria leak

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Andrew J. Barden

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Blocked: A man tries to connect to YouTube at a cafe in Istanbul.

Blocked: A man tries to connect to YouTube at a cafe in Istanbul.

Turkey has blocked YouTube after a leaked recording of officials discussing a military incursion into Syria appeared on the website.

The Foreign Ministry called the leak a "despicable attack" on national security, in a statement emailed from the capital, Ankara.

It said the meeting, attended by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, the head of national intelligence and other military and diplomatic officials, was held to discuss how to respond to threats by Islamist militants against an enclave of Turkish territory inside Syria.

Some sections of the tape were "doctored", the ministry said.

Turkey's telecommunications authority confirmed it had blocked access to YouTube, where the recording was posted.

The government also imposed a temporary ban on news about the recording, according to Turkey's broadcasting watchdog.

The recording included Davutoglu discussing an attack against Islamist militants who have threatened the tomb of Suleyman Shah, a monument on Turkish territory inside Syria under international agreements.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan attacked the leak of the recording at an election rally in Diyarbakir, calling it "unethical, sordid and contemptible". He vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice, saying: "We'll go after them in their lairs."

This comes three days before local elections, where Mr Erdogan is seeking a victory that he says will lay to rest allegations of corruption that surfaced in earlier internet leaks.

Mr Erdogan last week banned Twitter after the service was used to spread a spate of other audio files implicating Erdogan and his inner circle in corruption.

A court on Wednesday overturned that ruling as a limit on free speech.

Bloomberg

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