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Turkey

Turkish high court rules YouTube ban unlawful

A Turkish high court has ruled that a block on website YouTube violates free expression. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan imposed the ban after controversial audio recordings were leaked on the video-sharing platform.

The state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Thursday that the Constitutional Court would alert authorities of its decision and order access to YouTube be restored.

The website was banned by Turkish authorities on March 27 after it was used to spread recordings on which the voices of senior government, military and intelligence officials can be heard discussing possible military action inside Syria - a neighboring country embroiled in a three-year civil war.

Erdogan condemned that leak and others before it as an act of treason, and moved to block YouTube and Twitter. He accused a US-based Islamic cleric of using social media to orchestrate an internet campaign and a police corruption investigation to undermine him.

The Constitutional Court also issued a ruling last month overturning a ban on Twitter, saying the blockage was a violation of free expression. Following that high court decision, Erdogan said his government would adhere to the ruling even though they did not respect it.

The Turkish government's attempts to restrict social media in the country ahead of key local elections - from which Erdogan emerged victorious - has drawn widespread criticism from Western leaders and human rights organizations.

dr/pfd (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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