What does ‘youtube.com.tr’ mean?
Actually I have another question, in addition to the one the title asks: What does “youtube.com.tr” mean, and why is Transport and Communications Minister Binali Yıldırım so happy about it? In a non-political analysis youtube.com.tr means more prosperity for original content creators, especially Turkish ones. For too long, the rightful income of copyright owners in Turkey has been hijacked by illegal content sites. There are hundreds of them, and they all make very good money. There are sites that let you watch all the latest movies, soap operas, TV shows, and music videos. This hinders Turkey’s ability to create an “İstanbullywood.”
I won’t underline how important it is to have a major cultural force and income generator like that. However if we go into the political analysis things get a bit more complicated.
First and foremost, Binali Yıldırım has received a huge morale boost. He and those that are close to the government see this as a great victory. That’s why Yıldırım is emphasizing that youtube.com.tr is being created not because the parent company wanted to create it, but because there was great pressure from the government. Finally, the Turkish government has bent the will of a corporate giant to its will, and youtube.com is going to pay taxes in Turkey like every other legitimate operation.
I can also agree that this is something to be happy about as a citizen. At least YouTube will have a branch in Turkey. There will be a career path to Google inside Turkey. Hopefully there will be other spillover. That alone is something to celebrate.
However the following statement makes everything rather suspicious: “YouTube will now be in a binding and critical position requiring it to implement court decisions and remove any objectionable publications,” Yıldırım said, according to Reuters. “Furthermore, it will also pay taxes on its operations.”
A YouTube spokeswoman said Internet users browsing on a Turkish IP address would automatically be redirected to the “youtube.com.tr” domain. If Turkey had a valid court order banning a particular video, access to that content would be blocked.
“Google does pay the taxes in Turkey that it is required to pay by law. It is the same in every country in which we operate,” the spokeswoman said.
This means the government has absolute control over YouTube content from now on. They can get any content they deem harmful to the public, such as erotic dances, pro-Darwinism videos or videos that are critical of Islam, blocked. The worst thing is that the average user wouldn’t even know about it.
If you consider that the most of the traffic on the Internet is on websites like youtube.com, this clearly means that the government is aiming for a more effective censorship mechanism to replace the failed filtering. These three reasons give Yıldırım enough happiness to allow him to spend his last year as minister as a victor.