Turkey blocks access to Wikipedia

There was apparently no court order or official explanation yet for the decision to block Wikipedia.
author_image Ari Khalidi

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Turkish authorities on Saturday blocked access to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, said a watchdog monitoring Internet freedom in the country.

The website Turkey Blocks reported a blanket ban detected at 8:00 a.m. local time with multiple service providers affected in all language editions of Wikipedia.

Numerous Internet users in Ankara, Istanbul, and the Kurdish provinces such as Sanliurfa, Van, Batman, Mardin, and Sirnak contacted by Kurdistan24 confirmed they could not access Wikipedia.

There was apparently no court order or official explanation yet for the decision to block Wikipedia.

However, Turkey’s state Internet regulator Information and Communication Technologies Authority can put administrative bans in place.

Major newspaper Hurriyet said articles “supportive of terrorism” were one of the reasons for the block, possibly referring to writings on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Kurdish separatism.

Another explanation sources cited by Hurriyet gave was Wikipedia’s “attitude suggesting Turkey is in collaboration with terrorism.”

The main article on the Islamic State (IS) mentions accusations on Turkey by the Kurds, Turkish opposition, and former US Vice-President Joe Biden of supporting or colluding with the insurgent group.

Authorities have been in touch with Wikipedia to remove the related content, but there was no concession to the Turkish demands.

Turkey has previously and multiple times blocked most popular websites and social media networks such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

A ban on YouTube in 2008 over videos allegedly insulting the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, lasted for two-and-a-half-years.

Recently, in October 2016, Turkey shut down all Internet services in a dozen Kurdish-majority provinces following the arrest of prominent Kurdish politicians.

The US-based Freedom House that advocates political liberties rank the Internet in Turkey as “partly free” and the press as “not free.”


Editing by Karzan Sulaivany