Turkey has blocked all access inside the country
to the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia.
Officials said “an administrative measure” had been
taken, but gave no reason why.
Turkish media said authorities had asked Wikipedia to
remove content by writers “supporting terror”.

Turkey has temporarily blocked social media sites
including Facebook and Twitter in the past, usually
following protests or terror attacks.

The Turkey Blocks monitoring group said Wikipedia
was unreachable from 08:00 (05:00 GMT). People in
Istanbul were unable to access any pages without
using a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

“After technical analysis and legal consideration
based on the Law Nr. 5651 [governing the internet], an
administrative measure has been taken for this
website,” Turkey’s Information and Communication
Technologies Authority was quoted as saying, giving
no further details.

However, the Hurriyet daily newspaper said Wikipedia
had been asked to remove content by certain writers
whom the authorities accuse of “supporting terror”
and of linking Turkey to terror groups. The site had
not responded to the demands, Hurriyet said, and the
ban was imposed as a result.

Turkey Blocks and Turkish media, including Hurriyet,
said the provisional order would need to be backed by
a full court ruling in the next few days.
It’s become all too familiar here: the endless “loading”
icon followed by the message “server timed out”.
Blocking websites is a common tool of the Turkish
authorities: Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have
suffered the same fate several times, and numerous
anti-government sites are inaccessible.

Critics say it smacks of Turkey’s repression of free
speech: over half of all requests to Twitter to remove
content have come from Turkey, and the country now
ranks 155 of 180 in the press freedom index of the
watchdog Reporters without Borders.
Social media was in uproar as news of the ban
emerged, with some users speculating that it might be
a bid to suppress criticism on President Recep Tayyip
Erdogan’s Wikipedia page.

Mr Erdogan narrowly won a controversial 16 April
referendum on increasing his powers, but the issue
has deeply divided the country.

One Twitter user noted that the Wikipedia page on
Turkey’s referendum has a section on “controversies
and electoral misconduct”, and cites claims that the
government suppressed the No campaign through
“arrests, control of the media and political
suppression”.

The Turkish government has previously denied
censoring the internet, blaming outages on spikes in
usage after major events.

Wikipedia has also faced censorship in other
countries, including a temporary ban in Russia, and
repeated crackdowns in China.

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