Turkey, Science-Technology

Turkish court rejects Wikipedia appeal

Access to online encyclopedia was blocked on April 29 over content Ankara says forms part of smear campaign

Turkish court rejects Wikipedia appeal

By Aylin Sirikli and Zafer Fatih Beyaz


An Ankara court on Friday rejected an appeal by Wikipedia to lift a recent ban over content on the site the Turkish government says is part of a coordinated smear campaign.

Ankara’s 1st Criminal Court of Peace upheld the access block despite objections from the Wikimedia Foundation, to which the online encyclopedia is affiliated.

Wikimedia said the ban blocked freedom of expression.

However, the court said freedom of expression may be subject to sanctions necessary to prevent crime in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the relevant articles of the Turkish Constitution.

Wikipedia was blocked in Turkey on April 29 due to content Ankara believes falsely links Turkey to various terrorist groups, according to the country’s communications ministry.

On Wednesday, Turkey’s telecommunication authority demanded the site’s management remove such content.

“Some pages have not been removed yet by Wikipedia unfortunately,” said Omer Fatih Sayan, president of Turkey’s Information and Communication Technologies Authority.

He added: “Turkey is a state of law. It is not possible to open access to Wikipedia so long as the decisions [country's demands] are not implemented.”

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