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YouTube insult to Ataturk sparks Greco-Turkish video war March 9, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in YouTube.

YouTube, the internet phenomenon that allows users to post their own videos, has been blocked in Turkey by court order after a clip portraying Ataturk as gay was uploaded on the site.

The video of Ataturk, the revered founding father of the modern Turkish state, whom it is a criminal offence to insult in Turkey, has sparked a Greco-Turkish video war with a slew of gay-themed videos about Greeks and Turks.

One of the Turkish-made videos calls Cyprus a gay Greek island and in another section shows a photo of George Michael.

According to two tech magazines, the perpetrator of the original Ataturk video was a Cypriot. It displayed pictures of the founding father of modern Turkey with insults superimposed in English.

The video has been withdrawn by YouTube and is unavailable for viewing after a storm of complaints to the site operators. The CNN-Turk website featured a link allowing Turks to complain directly to YouTube about the “insult”.

The YouTube profile for the video shows it was uploaded by someone called Zimbabwettanaga, a person who speaks Greek and states that he is located in Zimbabwe. His profile page has also been inundated with threats and insults from Turks.

According to Turkish media, since the Ataturk video was posted there has been a “virtual war” between Greek and Turkish users of the site, with both sides posting insulting videos.

Yesterday four Turkish college students asked an Istanbul court to revoke the blanket ban on YouTube, which is owned by Google.

“Banning access to the website does not punish those who did that [posted the video] but the citizens of the Turkish Republic,” said student Kursat Cetinkoz, reading from a petition.

“We are not in the position of saying that what YouTube did was an insult, that it was right or wrong,” the head of Turk Telekom, Paul Doany, told the state-run Anatolia news agency. “A court decision was proposed to us, and we are doing what that court decision says.”

The court said it would revoke the ban as soon as the offending video was removed from the site.

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