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Turkey continues to flex its censorship muscle by blocking Wikipedia

By Leyla Amur

On Saturday morning, Turkey Blocks confirmed that restrictions to online encyclopedia Wikipedia in Turkey, which had affected all language editions.

Turkey Block, an independent network tracking wide-scale internet blackouts and censorship decisions, also reported on the scope of the censorship. While Wikipedia appeared to be partially accessible on certain providers such as TTNET, the implementation was complete on all fixed line and mobile service providers.

According to officials from HaberTürk TV, the decision to block Wikipedia stemmed from the site’s refusal to remove content related to “terrorism activity” in Turkey. Turkey has blocked Wikipedia, the country’s telecommunications watchdog said on Saturday, citing a law that allows it to ban access to websites deemed obscene or a threat to national security.

The Information and Communications Technologies Authority put the following message up on its website: “After technical analysis and legal consideration based on the Law Nr. 5651, an administration measure has been taken for this website (Wikipedia.org) according to Decision Nr. 490.05.01.2017.-182198 dated 29/04/2017 implemented by the Information and Communication Technologies Authority.

While the block has been implemented without a court order, Turkey Blocks says that an order is imminent in the coming days.

Other independent observers have previously noted that Turkey regularly blocks access or reduces bandwidth to social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook, particularly following attacks by militant groups.

 

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