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audio leak

Turkey will restore access to YouTube after a ruling by the country’s constitutional court.

A block was imposed in late March, soon after recordings alleging official corruption were aired on the site.

Now Turkey’s constitutional court has said the block violated laws governing freedom of expression.

The court is now informing telecom authorities of its decision and is telling them to lift the block.

Turkey will restore access to YouTube after a ruling by the country's constitutional court

Turkey will restore access to YouTube after a ruling by the country’s constitutional court

The decision is widely seen as a snub to the government of PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which has been a sharp critic of social media sites such as Twitter and YouTube.

Both sites were blocked earlier this year after recordings of official meetings were leaked and widely circulated. One recording involved senior army officers discussing intervention in Syria and others supposedly revealed corruption among people close to Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The block on Twitter was lifted last month but the limits on YouTube have stayed despite decisions from lower courts calling on the government for them to be lifted.

It is not clear whether the order to lift the ban will be effective since the authorities said those earlier calls were ignored because offending material was still available on the site.

The constitutional court was looking into the validity of the block after complaints from Turkish citizens about it.

Many people have used special software to get round the ban and ensure they can still see videos on the site.

The block was imposed as a “precautionary administrative measure”, Turkey’s telecommunications regulator said at the time.

Turkey passed a controversial law early this year that let the regulator cut off any site without needing to get a court order.

YouTube was blocked previously in Turkey in 2007 but that ban was lifted in 2010.

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Turkey has blocked access to YouTube, a day after an Ankara court ordered the suspension of a ban on Twitter, which Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan backed.

The telecoms authority (TIB) said it had taken an “administrative measure” against YouTube but another report suggests that talks are under way.

Some users found access blocked while others could still use the site.

Earlier, what appeared to be a leaked audio recording of Turkish officials discussing Syria appeared on YouTube.

Turkey has blocked access to YouTube

Turkey has blocked access to YouTube

The audio recording relates to a discussion of possible military operations in Syria, which was apparently attended by Turkey’s intelligence chief, its foreign minister and the deputy head of the armed forces.

Reuters news agency, which examined the recording, said it could not verify its authenticity but it was potentially the most damaging purported leak so far as it appeared to have originated from the bugging of a highly confidential and sensitive conversation.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who faces important local elections on Sunday, accuses social media of spreading misinformation and suggested earlier that bans could be applied to both YouTube and Facebook.

At a rally this week, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying: “I don’t understand how people of good sense could defend this Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. There are all kinds of lies there.”

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