Turkey Lifts Wikipedia Ban After Nearly Three Years

A ban Wikipedia in Turkey that has been in place since April 2017 has been lifted, after a ruling by that country’s Constitutional Court.

The ban had been in place for approximately 991 days, after Wikipedia had refused to remove articles that said Turkey’s government had co-operated with the Islamic State (IS) group and al-Qaeda in Syria.

Turkey does has prior history here. In 2014 for example, Turkish authorities ordered the shutdown of YouTube in the country, after a recording of a meeting of top security officials discussing possible military action in Syria was leaked to the site.

Ban lifted

It restored access to YouTube a few months later after the country’s Constitutional Court found the YouTube ban was in contravention of human rights.

In the subsequent years YouTube has been subjected to periodic bans in the country.

Turkish authorities had also briefly banned Twitter for a time.

But news that Turkey has restored access to Wikipedia after more than two and a half years was celebrated on the Wikipedia Foundation blog.

“Today, on Wikipedia’s 19th birthday, the Wikimedia Foundation has received reports that access to Wikipedia in Turkey is actively being restored,” said the foundation. “This latest development follows a 26 December 2019 ruling by the Constitutional Court of Turkey that the more than two and a half year block imposed by the Turkish government was unconstitutional.”

Turkish ISPs are said to be gradually restoring access to the online encyclopedia at the time of writing.

“We are thrilled to be reunited with the people of Turkey,” said Katherine Maher, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation. “At Wikimedia we are committed to protecting everyone’s fundamental right to access information. We are excited to share this important moment with our Turkish contributor community on behalf of knowledge-seekers everywhere.”

Quiz: What do you know about censorship?

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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