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First Twitter, now YouTube. What will the Turkish government block next?  On Thursday March 27th the Turkish government blocked the use of YouTube.  The reason for this was said to be because of a highly confidential recorded conversation between the foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, the Turkish senior military official, as well as other military officials regarding Syria was leaked onto the video sharing site.  Specifically, these Turkish government officials were discussing security details regarding the Suleyman Shah tomb, an area of land located in Syria but is currently protected by Turkish troops.  Syria continues to threaten Turkey about this area of land, demanding that they lower the Turkish flag that flies in the sky. This issue, along with many other issues, continue to create the high tension between the two countries.

However, this issue is not just between Turkey and Syria, rather the issue is between the Turkish people and the Turkish government regarding internet use.  The Turkish government, specifically, the telecommunication authority (TIB), has recently shut down social media sites, such as Twitter and most recently YouTube. This means that people can no long Tweet or share any videos or recordings.  Not only has the Turkish government blocked specific websites, they have been monitoring them as well, keeping a very close eye on the online activity among the citizens. 

Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission, is a strong advocate for why technology, and social networking sites, are vital for Europeans countries.  On March 27, 2014 Neelie Kroes tweeted:

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 Image Taken as a screengrab from the website Twitter.com @NeelieKroesEUKroes, along with others are outraged by the blocking of yet another website that the people of Turkey cannot access.  Personally, I cannot imagine how frustrating this must be for the people living in Turkey during this time.  As we have discussed in class, social media networks are ways for people to stay informed with the news and keep up with current events.  With new things happening in Turkey and in Syria each moment of each day, it is extremely important that citizens continue to stay informed.  Furthermore, this inhibits the people of Turkey to upload videos, which is pure evidence, of what is happening in the country.

 

There are many reasons why I think the recent blocking of Twitter and YouTube are detrimental to the people of Turkey.  Firstly, I believe that these recent “blockings” disable people from getting news or current events. The Turkish government can now control what is and what is not said in a Tweet or recorded on a video and uploaded to YouTube.  It is as if the Turkish government is blocking the Turkish people from any other form of virtual communication. Secondly, I do not think that the Turkish government, or any government for that matter, should be able to block certain websites, such as Twitter and YouTube.  We live in a day and age where people speak their minds through social media networks.  I do not believe that Twitter and YouTube are twisting any recent developments in Turkey.  Lastly, I believe that if the Turkish government continues to block specific websites, cutting off any more communication, other countries should think about getting involved.

It will be interesting to see what will happen in next in Turkey, and how the people will respond to more social networks and websites on the internet being blocked.

Featured Image courtesy of Flickr user PSantaRosa

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