Access to the popular video-sharing website YouTube has been suspended in Turkey after clips insulting former Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk had appeared on the site. Even after YouTube removed the offending clips, a court order blocked all access to the site. Turkish visitors to the site are now greeted with a message in English and Turkish reading "Access to www.youtube.com site has been suspended in accordance with decision no: 2007/384 dated 06.03.2007 of Istanbul First Criminal Peace Court".
According to Turkish media, there has been a "virtual war" between Greek and Turkish users of the site, with both sides posting insulting videos. The clip prompting the ban reportedly dubbed Ataturk and Turks homosexuals. Insulting Ataturk, the founding father of modern Turkey is an offence which can result in a prison sentence. Paul Doany, the head of Turk Telecom, the country"s largest telecoms company, said that they had blocked access to the site as soon as the court order came through and will continue to do so as long as the order stands: "We are not in the position of saying that what YouTube did was an insult, that it was right or wrong. A court decision was proposed to us, and we are doing what that court decision says."