A number of Google services have once again been banned in Turkey. The Telecommunications Presidency has decided to ban access to various Google services such as Google Docs, Google Analytics and YouTube for an indefinite period of time, starting from June 4.
Initially, only the video sharing site YouTube had been banned for alleged insults to the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. This ban on YouTube has been in force since May 5 2008. The site had also been previously banned in 2007.
The Telecommunications Presidency issued a statement last Friday, announcing that they were blocking various Google sites. The reason for doing so was stated to be “because of legal reasons”.
Some of the sites have been completely banned while others are very slow to respond. Among them are docs.google.com, translate.google.com, books.google.com, google.com/analytics and tools.google.com.
When users in Turkey attempt to access any of the banned sites they get a message that says, “Access to this site is banned by court order.”
According to local sources, the ban does not punish Google but the local users instead. Many users are now trying to change their DNS settings to bypass the Turkish Internet Service Providers and thus avoid the ban.
A free-press outfit, ‘Reporters Without Boarders’ has said “It is time the Turkish authorities demonstrated their commitment to free expression by putting an end to the censorship that affects thousands of websites in Turkey and by overhauling Law 5651 on the Internet, which allows this sort of mass blocking of sites.”
Google is reported to have told The Register that folk at Mountain View, CA believe that the services have been banned accidentally and they are working with the Turkish government to set matters right.