In another indication of the freefall of the former shining democratic star of the Muslim world, Turkey has blocked YouTube. It happened today, Thursday, March 27.
The ban of this form of social media follows closely on the heels of Turkey’s ban on Twitter, last week.
Speculation in Turkey is that the shuttering of YouTube happened now because of an anonymous audio post which was claimed to be of the Turkish head of intelligence talking about a potential military strike against Syria. The intelligence head was said to have been talking to the deputy chief of the Turkish military and the Turkish foreign minister.
When Turks attempt to access YouTube, they receive a message which, translated into English, says: “Access has been blocked by the Telecommunication Communication Presidency.” Obviously something is lost in the translation, but the Turkish agency responsible for telecommunications, the the Communications Technologies Institution (BTK) was invested with has enormous powers under the recently passed Internet law.
Whatever the actual precipitating factor, the move has been threatened for some time. It is yet another indication of the desperate measures taken by the administration of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Erdoğan, referred to by U.S. President Barack Obama only two years ago as his “closest” ally in the Middle East, is reeling from corruption scandals and increasing concerns raised by western governments regarding his erratic actions.