Turkish officials ban Web sites

Aug. 23, 2008 at 4:03 PM

ANKARA, Turkey, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Turkey has banned access to 853 Web sites in what critics say is an affront to freedom of speech rights of Turks.

Today's Zaman reported Saturday that among the sites restricted by the Turkish government is the video-sharing site YouTube.

Earlier this week a group of Web sites critical of the government's restrictions "banned" themselves by putting up front pages that read "Access is denied."

Sites have been outlawed for being critical of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, and because the Internet sites contain vulgarity, enable gambling or promote suicide.

The newspaper reported the most recent Web site to be banned was gundemonline.com, which was blocked by Ankara's 11th High Criminal Court without explanation.

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