Story behind Wikipedia ban in Turkey

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Story behind Wikipedia ban in Turkey

2017-05-01 02:54 BST
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Turkey blocks access to Wikipedia and news outlets interpret it as Turkey’s move towards censorship

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On 29 April 2017, Turkey blocked access to Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia. Many news outlets such as The Independent, The New York Times, DW News, The Jerusalem Post, Slate, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Al Jazeera and The Guardian released news stories on the issue, mostly associating the ban with crackdown on freedom of speech in Turkey.

Some examples of tweets were as follows: “Turkey blocks access to Wikipedia as Erdogan's assault on dissent and free speech continues” (Slate), “Wikipedia Founder vows to stand with Turkish people and their ‘fundamental human right’ to access to information” (Al Jazeera) and “#Turkey blocks @Wikipedia, expanding censorship” (DW News).

However, the predicament turned out to be a repercussion of Wikipedia’s uncooperative attitude regarding the correction of an article that claimed Turkey lent support to DAESH.

A state official explained to Fact-Checking Turkey that Turkish editors of Wikipedia wanted to change the article but Wikipedia did not allow them to do so by denying them access. Then The Information and Communication Technologies Authority of Turkey (BTK) intervened and urged Wikipedia to remove the content in question. After Wikipedia censored Turkish editors, failed to remove the article in due course and also did not respond to the correspondence of Turkish officials, Turkey blocked the website.

The official also told Fact-Checking Turkey that a representative of Wikipedia confirmed the abovementioned course of events.