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Turkey’s Wikipedia ban lifted after more than two years

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on January 18, 2020 Published on January 18, 2020

Turkey has lifted the ban on the encyclopedia website Wikipedia in the country after blocking access to the website for over two years.

“The best present we got for Wikipedia's 19th birthday was being unblocked in Turkey,” Wikipedia tweeted on Thursday.

 

The website was blocked in Turkey in April 2017 after the Wikimedia Foundation’s refusal to delete articles from the website alleging the Turkish government’s cooperation with the so-called Islamic State (IS) group and al-Qaeda in Syria. Ankara had accused the website of being part of a "smear campaign" against the country, as per a report published by Al Jazeera.

The country’s Constitutional Court in a ruling dated December 26, 2019 said that the ban that lasted more than two years was unconstitutional as it violated freedom of expression, according to reports.

Non-profit Wikimedia Foundation that hosts Wikipedia also shared an official statement on their website about the news.

“We are thrilled to be reunited with the people of Turkey,” said Katherine Maher, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation in the statement. “We are excited to share this important moment with our Turkish contributor community on behalf of knowledge-seekers everywhere.”

“More than 85 per cent of the articles on Wikipedia are in languages other than English, which includes the Turkish Wikipedia’s more than 335,000 articles, written by Turkish-speaking volunteers for Turkish-speaking people,” the Wikimedia Foundation further said.

Back in April 2018, over a single week, more than 1.5 crore people had sent out messages with the hashtag #WeMissTurkey about the ban on the Wikimedia Foundation, and nearly two lakh people, including more than 47,000 in Turkey, had responded, according to an article published on Wikipedia’s official website.

Wikimedia Foundation has said that the ban is being lifted "gradually. Some Internet service providers are still in the process of restoring access," BBC News reported.

Published on January 18, 2020
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