May 29, 2014 at 11:20 am

Turkey highest court: YouTube ban violates rights

Ankara, Turkey — Turkey’s highest court on Thursday ruled that the country’s ban on YouTube is a violation of freedom of expression — a set-back for Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had advocated shutting down the video-sharing website.

The Constitutional Court ruled that the restrictions on YouTube amounted to a violation of constitutional rights and would notify telecommunications authorities of its decision that access be restored, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

The restrictions on YouTube were imposed in late March after an audio recording of a government security meeting was leaked. In the recording, senior officials appeared to be discussing a possible military intervention in Syria.

Early last month, the high court also ordered Turkish authorities to end the blockage of the micro-blogging site Twitter, saying it was a violation of the right to free expression. The moves by authorities to block the social networks have provoked widespread criticism by Western governments and human rights organizations.

Following the high court ruling on Twitter, Erdogan said that his government would comply even though it did not respect the decision.