ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) _ YouTube has removed several video clips that had prompted Turkish authorities to block access to the video-sharing Web site, a move the company believes will lead to a restoration of access soon.

In a statement in Turkish sent to The Associated Press on Thursday, YouTube said the company "reviewed the videos that led to the most recent ban on access and removed them because of their content, which violate YouTube's content policy."

A court in the capital of Ankara imposed a ban on access to the site at the request of a prosecutor who had argued the clips were disrespectful to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, a war hero who founded Turkey from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire.

Access to YouTube, which is owned by Google Inc., remained blocked in Turkey on Thursday morning, and Turkish authorities could not be reached for comment on when access might resume.

Turkey has imposed temporary bans on access to YouTube on similar grounds in the past, but access was restored in each case after the Web site removed videos that had drawn Turkish complaints.

Other governments have tried to block YouTube in their countries as well.

One recent effort by Pakistan's government led to a broader outage affecting most of the world because a Pakistani telecommunications company implementing the block made a mistake in its technical configuration.

Under Turkish law, it is a crime to insult Ataturk, who died seven decades ago.

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.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.