Germany’s FM criticizes YouTube block in Turkey

Monday, April 07, 2014

Freedom of expression and press freedom cannot be restricted in an EU candidate country, Steinmeier says

Freedom of expression and press freedom cannot be restricted in an EU candidate country, Steinmeier says

BERLIN – Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has criticized the blocking of the video sharing website YouTube in Turkey.

“If there are accession talks, at the same time, there cannot be restrictions to freedom of expression or press freedom,” Steinmeier said on Monday. “If this is really the case in Turkey or not; we will see this in the coming weeks,” he added.

Germany’s Foreign Minister expressed his hope that Turkey’s politics would ‘normalize’ after leaving the March 30 local elections behind.

Steinmeier made his remarks in response to questions by journalists during a joint press conference with European Parliament President Martin Schulz and leader of Social Democratic Party (SPD) Sigmar Gabriel.

Asked on the YouTube ban in Turkey, European Parliament President Martin Schulz said that the Turkish government had made courageous political reforms during its first and second terms.

But its third term had been marked by various problems in Turkey’s EU process, he said.

Blocking social media sites would not contribute to transparency or democracy, Schulz added.

On March 27, Turkey's telecoms authority announced an "administrative" block on YouTube after the leaked voice recording of a security meeting of high-ranking officials appeared on the site.

Last Friday, a court in Ankara had decided to lift the block on the website, but the public prosecutor's office appealed on the grounds that YouTube had not removed the links hosting allegedly illegal content.

After its evaluation of the appeal, the court annulled its earlier decision and ruled that the block would continue until the legally questionable content had been removed from the website.

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