News / Middle East

Turkey Blocks Access to YouTube After Audio Recordings Leaked

YouTube logos displayed on a laptop screen partially covered with Turkey's national flag in this photo illustration taken in Ankara March 27, 2014.
YouTube logos displayed on a laptop screen partially covered with Turkey's national flag in this photo illustration taken in Ankara March 27, 2014.
Turkey has blocked access to YouTube, after the video-sharing website circulated what is thought to be an audio recording of senior Turkish officials discussing plans for possible military intervention in Syria's civil war.

The audio was leaked Thursday.  It is purported to be of Turkey's foreign minister discussing options with the country's intelligence chief and another top official for staging bogus attacks on Turkey from Syrian soil to create a pretext for war.

The Sunni-dominated government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has supported elements of the Syrian opposition fighting to unseat the Iran-backed government of President Bashar al-Assad.  Analysts say Turkey is also a key entry point for military supplies bound for rebels.

Erdogan drew international condemnation last week when he banned Twitter, after the micro-blogging service was used to circulate other audio files implicating the prime minister and his son in corruption.  A Turkish court on Wednesday ruled that ban illegal.

Thursday's audio prompted Erdogan to describe the leaks as "villainous."  He also called them an attempt to discredit him and his Justice and Development party ahead of key local elections set for Sunday.

The United Nations refugee agency says more than 600,000 Syrian refugees are encamped inside Turkish territory. The Syrian uprising entered its fourth year earlier this month.

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