In March 2007, the Turkish government forced internet service providers to block access to YouTube. The ban has been holding strong since then, so it was a surprise to see the English language Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review report that Turkish censors lifted the ban for the IMF/World Bank meeting this week. The Hurriyet says that the website is only accessible at the conference center hosting the meetings. I can further report that access is also available at a hotel near the IMF-World Bank meeting site that is housing much of the IMF/World Bank crowd.
What to make of this? I’m not sure, but the Hurriyet also noted that two popular Turkish LGBT community sites that were shut down this week are nonetheless accessible at the IMF conference center. I’ll be leaving Istanbul tomorrow and traveling to a few smaller cities and will be interested to see how far this YouTube ban extends.