Turkish internet universe
After three years, Wikipedia is now open. Does this mean that we gained freedom to reach or share information? Does this mean that we have the same opportunities as the rest of the world, to roam the internet and gain the same insights that a foreigner can gain? Are the answers to all the questions simple? Absolutely not.
The real problem in Turkey in catching up with the rest of the world was not Wikipedia being shut, it is the fact that in our country, state always comes before the individual. This is so heavily intertwined in our culture that nobody really sees it. You have to live a few years abroad to understand the difference between a state-first nation and an individual-first nation.
Strictly speaking for the internet and the startup world, this is a great hindrance. In Turkey, we cannot browse the internet that everyone else browses. During the last five years, more than 250,000 websites were blocked in our country. Wikipedia was only one of them.
For example, there are thousands of websites blocked because they talk about evolution. So, our worldwide web is not as wide as, let’s say, Britain’s.
Slow reach to internet
Furthermore, because it is dependent on a state-owned company, we are far behind in our connection speeds as well. According to journalist Kemalettin Bulamacı’s research, only 10 percent of all the connections in Turkey are on par with regular speeds in countries like Japan, South Korea, the U.S., etc.
So, an average Turkish person can reach a much smaller internet universe much slower than a foreigner. How can we compete under such adverse conditions?
Letting Wikipedia to be accessed within Turkey does not begin to solve our problems.
Unless the government assures that no one has the power to limit the entire Turkish population’s access to any website, the move to open Wikipedia is nothing but an inconsequential gesture.