YouTube cedes to Turkey and uses local Web domain

Google's video-sharing site will now use "com.tr" in the European country; this means paying local taxes and abiding by often-strict content regulations.

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Turkey and YouTube have a checkered past, so today's news isn't a big surprise -- the video-sharing site will now operate under a local Web domain -- "com.tr" -- and be subject to the country's content regulations and taxes.

According to Reuters, Turkey had been working to get YouTube to agree to this set-up for some time.

"This is an important development," Turkish Transport and Communications Minister Binali Yildirim told Reuters. "For a long time we have made a call to Internet firms in Turkey: 'You are operating in this country, you must be resident here.'"

Now that YouTube is a resident in Turkey, it will be subject to local taxes and must also abide by the country's often-strict content regulations. "It will now be in a binding and critical position to implement court decisions and remove any objectionable publications," Yildirim said.

YouTube announced its deal with European government in a blog post, saying: "Now, if you set Turkey as your location, you'll get a Turkish-language experience with great, locally relevant content--including recommended channels and videos. We're looking forward to the ways in which video-loving Turks of all ages will bring their culture to YouTube as they connect with one another, share ideas, and find new audiences."

Turkey is not the first country to get a local Web domain with YouTube. In fact, 46 other countries around the world have local domains with the video-sharing site, including France, Egypt, Indonesia, Peru, and Yemen.

Relations between the company and Turkey haven't always been friendly, however. In 2008, Turkey blocked YouTube for more than two years after videos considered insulting to the country's founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, were posted. The ban was lifted after the offending videos were removed in 2010.

Local courts have also recently issued orders to block YouTube access to the anti-Islam film trailer, "Innocence of Muslims," which has caused sweeping protests across the Middle East . In this movie, the prophet Mohammed is depicted as a buffoonish, skirt-chasing molester. Removal of this video in Turkey will now be much more smooth and speedy now that the site is registered there.

"Now, as soon as the court makes its decision, all the demands will be carried out immediately," Yildirim told Reuters.

Other countries have been active in battling YouTube over the past month. Iran worked to block Google's video-sharing site last week, and Brazil recently detained the company's local chief executive and threatened to block the site if offending videos weren't removed. Pakistan's government decided to ban YouTube altogether because of its refusal to block the "Innocence of Muslims" clip.

Updated at 9:00 p.m. PT with quote from YouTube blog post and to add that 46 other countries worldwide have local YouTube Web domains.

About the author

Dara Kerr, a freelance journalist based in the Bay Area, is fascinated by robots, supercomputers and Internet memes. When not writing about technology and modernity, she likes to travel to far-off countries.

 

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