The Turkey’s telecommunications authority (TIB) lifted the ban on Tuesday, removing YouTube from the “blocked sites” listed on its website. The move came four days after the country’s Constitutional Court ruled that the ban violated Turks’ free speech rights and ordered the ban be lifted.
A YouTube spokesperson confirmed that the site had been unblocked there.
“We are glad that YouTube has been restored in Turkey following our successful appeal to the courts,” the spokesperson said, “and that people and businesses can once again access and share information on YouTube.”
Two people from Turkey also confirmed that they were able to access the video-sharing site, and several other Turkish netizens posted on social media that they were able to access the site.
The Constitutional court reached the ruling after reviewing three separate appeals — one by Google, one by the country’s bar association and one by a local scholar. This is not the first time a Turkish court has weighed in on the YouTube ban.
In April, a series of lower courts ruled to either unblock YouTube or to keep the block. At the time, the Turkish telecom regulator, the Communication Technologies Institution (BTK) refused to lift the ban until “criminal content” was removed from YouTube.
But just like with Twitter, the Turkish government accepted the ruling of the country’s highest judiciary institution, the Constitutional Court.
The unblocking of YouTube closes a cycle of almost two months of social media censorship in Turkey. On March 27, Turkey blocked YouTube after an anonymous user posted leaked recordings of an alleged high-security meeting among Turkey’s intelligence chief, the foreign minister and the deputy head of the armed forces, during which they discussed potential military operations against Syria.
The YouTube ban came just a week after the country banned Twitter, as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced his intention to “eradicate” the social network completely.
Turks found several ways to circumvent the ban, using various tools like Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) or Tor. YouTube traffic dipped, but didn’t disappear completely, as this chart from Google shows.
The Twitter ban was lifted on April 3 when the Constitutional Court ruled that the block violated Turks’ free speech rights. The court ordered the government to unblock Twitter immediately, just like it has done now with YouTube.