Turkey blocks web site over 'insults'

The Turkish government is blocking access nationwide to social networking site Slide after a local court ruled that the site lets users post photos and stories insulting the Turkish republic's founder, according to a Reuters report. YouTube, Facebook and MySpace have all been barred in countries including Turkey, Pakistan, Thailand and China for offering web services that violate national laws restricting political speech, the report added.

Turkish law forbids insults to 'Turkishness', state institutions or Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who founded modern Turkey in the 1920's and 1930's. Famous authors, academics and political figures have faced prosecution for perceived infringements.

The Reuters report quoted John Duncan, Slide's general counsel, as saying that the company started getting complaints in February from Turkish users, shortly after a court ordered Turkish Telecom, the nation's Internet service provider, to block Slide's web sites. The order appeared to have been handed down on January 24 by a court in Civril, Turkey, Duncan said, but Slide's officials said they hadn't received formal notice of the action against the company.

Slide was also reported as saying that it had been unable to identify the offending material, but Turkish Telecom had complied with the court's order. Duncan said Slide's policy was to comply and remove offensive content from its site.