Criminal Court of First Instance of Ankara, Gölbaşı, Google Inc, YouTube, No. 2014/91 D

Document type
Court Decision
The Court finally ruled to unblock access to the popular video-sharing website YouTube, after initially ordering a temporary measure to reinstate the ban as per the prosecution’s request. (1) Access to YouTube was initially blocked on March 27, 2014 by an order of the Presidency of Telecommunications and Communication (TİB), a few hours after recordings of a key security meeting on Syria leaked online. TIB's ban was unilaterally ordered by TIB without being supported by a judicial decision. (2) Initially, a local court in the Ankara’s Gölbaşı district justified the ban on the grounds of a law incriminating insults to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic. (3) On April 4, the Gölbaşı Court of Peace ordered that access to the website be unblocked, following an appeal from the Union of the Turkish Bar Associations. The court went on to say that the ban was too broad and in violation of freedom of speech. The Court recommended simply blocking 15 videos as oppose to the entire site. 4) The Gölbaşı Prosecutor’s Office objected to the ruling, arguing that the ban should remain in place because the 15 videos remain on the website and URL-specific blocking is not technically possible. (5) In response to the Prosecutor's objection, the Gölbaşı Criminal Court of First Instance, which is a higher court, reversed the earlier decision of April 5 by ruling that the ban will continue until the “criminal content” is removed by YouTube. (6) Finally, in response to an appeal filed by YouTube, the court revoked the preventive measure temporarily imposed and ruled previous verdicts that justified the ban on YouTube to “be declared null and void." (7) According to this decision, TİB should unblock YouTube after it is officially notified of the ruling, even if YouTube does not remove the aforementioned videos. In fact, TİB decided not to enforce the court’s ruling to unblock Twitter and opted to wait for a Constitutional Court ruling to revoke the ban (see above).
Topic, claim, or defense
Freedom of Expression
Document type
Court Decision
Issuing entity
Lowest Domestic Court
Type of service provider
Host (Including Social Networks)
Internet Access Provider (Including Mobile)
OSP obligation considered
Block or Remove
Type of law
General effect on immunity
General intermediary liability model
Takedown/Act Upon Court Order