The Turkish government blocked access to YouTube on Thursday, less than a week after it banned Twitter – and it's allegedly all in response to this YouTube recording, which purports to show high-ranking officials discussing whether to go to war with neighboring Syria.
Turkish users reported that they were unable to access the site after the recording was uploaded. Instead, this is what they saw:
It's admittedly not the most visually scintillating video to hit YouTube, but the video poses severe problems for the Turkish government if it does turn out to be legit.
In the recording, one of the officials says Erdogan thinks conflict with Syria "must be seen as an opportunity for us". The men discuss the possibility of using an air strike or ground troops against a Syria-based jihadist group that has threatened to attack the tomb of Suleyman Shah, the founder of the Ottoman Empire.
While the tomb is technically in Syria, it remains the sovereign territory of Turkey under a treaty signed with France while Syria was still under colonial rule. According to some, military action in Syria would play exactly into Erdogan's hands, distracting voters from domestic issues and the dissent formenting within Turkey.
The government has confirmed that the recording was of a "top-secret meeting in the foreign minister’s office", but claims that it has been doctored and called it an "act of espionage, and a very serious crime".
Unfortunately for Erdogan, his YouTube ban is already backfiring. Thanks to his earlier ban on Twitter, ordinary Turks are already well-versed in how to bypass government controls on sites.
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