When I first noticed earlier this month that I was unable to access my blog here in Turkey, I assumed that I had unintentionally offended Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Turkish Republic, whose sanctity has caused Turkish courts to block YouTube access for extended periods of time.
It quickly became clear, however, that the crime was not mine and that blogspot.com had simply been blocked at the order of a court in the southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakır, following complaints by the Digiturk satellite network that its exclusive football broadcasting rights had been violated somewhere on the site.
According to the Turkish daily Hürriyet, Digiturk general manager Ertan Özerdem explained that the company only turned to the court system “as a last resort” after Google refused to cooperate. Not explained is why Digiturk turned to a court in a city approximately 1365 kilometers from its headquarters in Istanbul.
The timing of the blogspot block is inconvenient, to say the least, given that Turkey has as of late been accused of violations of freedom of the press and expression in arresting journalists suspected of links to the ultranationalist Ergenekon organization. As I have pointed out before, however, the U.S. is hardly one to criticize.