When trying to access the site, users once again encounter a blank screen with a message informing them that YouTube is blocked as part of a May 2008 court order. The original offensive videos, which Turkey says are insulting to the republic's founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, were removed under copyright infringement claims. YouTube later added the videos back after Google found the allegations were false. A court in Ankara lifted the ban on Saturday, but a separate court in the same city ruled that the ban should be reinstated, this time over a secretly taped video purportedly showing the former chairman of the opposition, Deniz Baykal, in a bedroom with a female partner.
Turkey has also blocked other Google services such as Google Docs, Google Books, and Google Translate, reportedly as an extension of the YouTube ban. Fortunately, Turkish citizens have been able to circumvent the ban by using a proxy. Turkey's restrictive Internet laws were originally developed to protect children against pornographic and harmful content, but are often used to censor the Internet instead. More than 5,000 sites are blocked in the country.
"When we looked into this, we found the videos were not, in fact, copyright-infringing, so we have put them back up, though they continue to be restricted within Turkey," YouTube said in a statement. "We hope very much that our users in Turkey can continue to enjoy YouTube."