Wikipedia ‘still not sure’ why it is still banned in Turkey

Wikipedia ‘still not sure’ why it is still banned in Turkey

ISTANBUL
Wikipedia ‘still not sure’ why it is still banned in Turkey

Wikipedia is “still not sure” why it remains blocked in Turkey, Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Katherine Maher has told Turkish daily Habertürk.

“We are not sure why there is still a ban on Wikipedia,” Maher told the newspaper on Jan. 17. “The Turkish authorities may not have examined the latest versions of these content.”

On April 29, 2017, the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) said it had blocked access to Wikipedia in Turkey, citing a law allowing it to ban access to websites deemed obscene or a threat to national security.

Maher said they were taken by surprise by the move.

“We received a statement on a Friday afternoon. Before we could respond, the website was blocked [in Turkey],” Maher said.

“The statement requested that we remove two articles but no reason was shown as to why we should do that,” she added.

“We do not remove an article just because it bothers some parties. We are against censorship,” Maher said.

Turkey’s information authority: Wikipedia still publishing illegal content

On the same day as Habertürk’s interview with Maher, Turkey’s Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) issued a statement saying that Wikipedia was “continuing to publish illegal content.”

“Having examined the content [on Wikipedia], we see that it insists on publishing illegal content,” the BTK said in a statement posted on its website on Jan. 17.

“Upon the removal of content that has insulting qualities targeting Turkey, the authorities could take the necessary steps,” the statement added.

“It is seen that statements [made by Wikipedia] are made to divert the public and create a false perception,” the BTK also said.

Wikipedia is just one of the scores of websites banned in Turkey, while monitoring groups have accused the country’s authorities of blocking or slowing access to social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook on numerous occasions in the past.

Following the ban, Wikipedia applied to Turkey’s Constitutional Court on May 9 after its appeal against the ruling that blocked access to it was rejected by a local court.

Communications Minister Ahmet Arslan had defended the ongoing ban on Wikipedia, saying it should “blame itself for the ban.”

“As we are trying to deal with all this terrorism, [Wikipedia] makes us look like we work with terror groups,” Arslan said on Dec. 18.

Five months after Wikipedia was banned in Turkey, a “pirate” website of it was launched in the country. A “mirrored” version of the site is also available, with users simply typing a “0” before “wikipedia” in the URL to access all Wikipedia content.

Wikipedia, ban, censor, censorship, censorship policy, Wikimedia, Katherine Maher