Turkey blocks Wikipedia over 'terror' claims

2017-04-29 20:17
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Istanbul - Turkey on Saturday blocked all access inside the country to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia reportedly for articles claiming links between Ankara and terror groups, the latest restriction on a popular website to hit Turkish users.

Turkey's Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) said it had implemented the ban against Wikipedia.org, without making clear the reason for the move.

Turkish state media said the ban was imposed because Wikipedia had failed to remove content promoting terror and accusing Turkey of co-operation with various terror groups.

Internet filters

There was no indication as to when the ban might be removed, with a formal court order expected to follow in the coming days.

A block affecting all language editions of the website in Turkey was detected from 05:00GMT after an administrative order by the Turkish authorities, according to the Turkey Blocks monitoring group, which follows internet restrictions in the country.

Residents in Istanbul were unable to access any pages of Wikipedia on Saturday morning without using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), reports said.

"The loss of availability is consistent with internet filters used to censor content in the country," Turkey Blocks said.

The BTK confirmed the ban in a statement but gave no details.

In March 2014, YouTube was banned for several months in Turkey after the site was used to broadcast purported footage of a security meeting on Syria.

In the summer of 2013, severe restrictions were imposed on social media during huge protests against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was prime minister at the time.

National security

Savvy internet users frequently resort to the use of VPNs to get around these bans, though there have been reports that the use of VPNs has also started to be blocked.

The government says such measures are always temporary and needed for national security but critics see them as another restriction on civil liberties under Erdogan.

In November 2016, Turkey imposed restrictions lasting several hours on the messaging service WhatsApp as well as on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other sites following the controversial arrests of pro-Kurdish MPs.


Read more on:    wikipedia  |  recep tayyip erdogan  |  turkey  |  social media

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