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Turkey

Turkish government complies with court order to unblock YouTube

The Turkish government has complied with a court order to unblock the video-sharing website YouTube. The government had been forced by a court order to lift a ban on the micro-blogging website Twitter.

Turkey's telecoms authority on Tuesday withdrew an order blocking YouTube, after it had been inaccessible in the country for more than two months.

The move followed a decision by the country's constitutional court last week which ruled that the ban on YouTube amounted to a violation of the right to freedom of speech. The ruling came as a result of legal challenges to the ban submitted by a number of individuals.

"As the constitutional court verdict was received today, YouTube will be open to access later today and official at Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office told the Reuters news agency earlier on Tuesday.

Erdogan's government imposed the ban on March 27 shortly before municipal elections, which his AK Party easily won.

The ban followed the release on YouTube of a recording, purportedly of high-level Turkish officials discussing a possible military intervention in Syria.

The government also slapped a ban on the micro-blogging website Twitter after it had been used to spread recordings, allegedly of senior officials, which appeared to implicate Erdogan and his son in a corruption scandal.

The constitutional court overturned that Twitter ban in April.

Erdogan, said the recordings were fabricated and voiced his disdain for that court decision, saying the government would comply with the ruling, even if it did not respect it.

Foreign correspondent denounced

Meanwhile, Erdogan used a speech to parliamentarians of his AK Party on Tuesday to denounce US broadcaster CNN's Istanbul correspondent.

Erdogan described CNN reporter Ivan Watson as a "flunky" and and an "agent," saying he had been caught "red handed" by police trying to stir up trouble in the country.

The prime minister was referring to an incident last Saturday, when police harassed and briefly detained Watson as he was reporting live on the first anniversary of the start of Turkey's biggest anti-government protests in decades.

Police used tear gas and water cannon against hundreds of demonstrators who had gathered on streets leading to Istanbul's Taksim Square, where last year's protests started.

Officers blocked access to the square in anticipation of demonstrations, following warnings from Erdogan that protesters should stay away from the square on the anniversary.

pfd/ipj (dpa, Reuters, AFP)

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