Turkey tries to block YouTube after Syria security leak

The move comes just a week after authorities took similar action against Twitter, as the country's prime minister faces growing criticism for limiting free speech.

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Desiree DeNunzio
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Just a week after Turkey blocked Twitter, the country's telecommunications authority on Thursday instituted a ban against YouTube.

The block comes after an audio recording was reportedly uploaded to YouTube in which top government and military officials purportedly discussed the security situation in Syria. The audio claims to be a recording of government officials trying to figure out how to justify air strikes against Syria. Turkey's foreign ministry said the recording was manipulated and was a "first degree threat to national security," according to Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency.

Despite the ban, the video-sharing site appears to still be widely accessible in the country, according to The Washington Post. Users are likely able to use VPNs (virtual private networks) and other workarounds to continue to access it. We've reached out to Google for comment and will update this post when we learn more.

But the move by the telecommunications authority is sure to spark further backlash around the globe just days before Turks head to the polls for local elections. The Turkish government took Twitter offline last week after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced the site. "We will wipe out Twitter. I don't care what the international community says," Erdogan said during an election rally in the western province of Bursa.

The country's allies, including the US and the European Union, were quick to criticize the action, calling it an attack on free speech. Turkish citizens, too, fought back, finding technological workarounds with the help of Twitter and Google to continue tweeting.

Erdogan has been under intense political pressure in recent weeks after recordings surfaced that purportedly were conversations between himself and his son, during which the two allegedly discussed how to hide large amounts of money. Erdogan has said the recordings are fake and has vowed to take legal action against the "vile attack."