updated 3/25/2008 1:15:18 PM ET 2008-03-25T17:15:18

Turkey blocked access to the popular video-sharing Web site YouTube on Thursday in response to a video clip deemed insulting to the country's revered founding father, state-run media said.

A court in the capital of Ankara ordered the ban at the request of a prosecutor who had argued the clip was disrespectful to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who died seven decades ago, the Anatolia news agency said. It was not clear how long the ban would last.

Turkey briefly imposed bans on access to YouTube on similar grounds in the past, but access was restored after the Web site removed the videos.

Under Turkish law, it is a crime to insult Ataturk, a war hero who founded Turkey from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire.

The YouTube bans in Turkey have highlighted the country's troubled record on free expression which Turkey wants to improve as part of its bid to join the European Union.

Last month, Pakistan briefly blocked access to YouTube because of a video featuring a Dutch lawmaker who has said he plans to release a movie portraying Islam as fascist.

The move inadvertently cut access for most of the world's Internet users for up to two hours, highlighting the vulnerability of the Internet.

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