Turkey's President Abdullah Gul has used his Twitter page to condemn his country's ban on YouTube and some Google services. “I know there are lots of complaints about bans on YouTube and Google,” Gul said in a tweet posted on June 10. “I am definitely against them being closed down. I have ordered responsible institutions for a solution. I asked for a change in regulations on merit.” Human rights groups and media watchdog associations have long urged Turkey, a European Union candidate, to reform its restrictive Internet laws. In January, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said Turkey was blocking some 3,700 Internet sites for “arbitrary and political reasons”.

Access to the popular video-sharing site YouTube has been banned by the Turkish government since 2008 after users posted videos in which they said Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, was an alcoholic and a homosexual. Earlier this month, Turkey's Telecommunications Board said it blocked access to Google sites “because of legal reasons.” Turkey has cited offences including child pornography, insulting Ataturk and encouraging suicide for blocking websites. The role of president in Turkey is largely ceremonial, decisions are taken by the prime minister and cabinet.

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