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Turkey's 2-year Ban on Wikipedia Violated Freedom of Expression, Rules Court

The Wikimedia Foundation has called for the Turkish government to restore full access to the site.

The Wikimedia Foundation has called for the Turkish government to restore full access to the site.

Turkey blocked Wikipedia in April 2017, accusing it of being part of a “smear campaign” against the country, after the website refused to remove content that allegedly portrayed Turkey as supporting the Islamic State group and other terrorist organisations.

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Ankara: Turkey’s highest court on Thursday ruled in favour of Wikipedia, saying the Turkish government's two-year ban on the online encyclopedia constitutes a violation of freedom of expression, the state-run news agency reported.

Turkey blocked Wikipedia in April 2017, accusing it of being part of a “smear campaign” against the country, after the website refused to remove content that allegedly portrayed Turkey as supporting the Islamic State group and other terrorist organisations.

Access to Wikipedia and all its language editions was blocked under a law that allows the government to ban websites it deems pose a national security threat.

Wikipedia declined to remove content from the community-generated site, citing its opposition to censorship. It petitioned the Constitutional Court in May 2017 after talks with Turkish officials and a challenge in lower courts failed.

The Anadolu Agency reported the Constitutional Court decided the ban amounted to a violation of freedom of expression. The justices voted 10-6 in favour of Wikipedia, the agency said.

There was no immediate comment from the government and it was not immediately clear when access to the website would be restored.

Many Turks have found ways to circumvent the ban on Wikipedia and other blocked websites.
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