The opposition İYİ (Good) Party on April 30 vowed to host the “reopening of Wikipedia,” which has been banned in Turkey for over a year, a day after snap elections on June 24.
“All of Turkey’s citizens are invited to Wikipedia’s [re]opening on June 25,” the party’s official Twitter post read.
The party also used the hashtags #WikipediaİYİOlacak and #TürkiyeİYİOlacak, which mean “Wikipedia will be good” and “Turkey will be good” in Turkish. Wikipedia has been banned for a year in Turkey. The Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) said on April 29, 2017 that it had blocked access to the site in Turkey, citing a law allowing it to ban access to websites deemed obscene or a threat to national security.
However, Wikipedia is “still not sure” why it remains blocked in Turkey, Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Katherine Maher told daily Habertürk in January.
“We are not sure why there is still a ban on Wikipedia. The Turkish authorities may not have examined the latest versions of these content,” Maher said on Jan. 17.
“The statement requested that we remove two articles but no reason was shown as to why we should do that. We do not remove an article just because it bothers some parties. We are against censorship,” she added.
On the same day as Habertürk’s interview with Maher, the BTK issued a statement saying Wikipedia was “continuing to publish illegal content.”
“Having examined the content [on Wikipedia], we see that it insists on publishing illegal content,” the BTK said in a statement posted on its website on Jan. 17.
“Upon the removal of content that has insulting qualities targeting Turkey, the authorities could take the necessary steps,” it added.
Wikipedia is just one of the scores of websites banned in Turkey, while monitoring groups have accused the country’s authorities of blocking or slowing access to social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook on numerous occasions in the past. Following the ban, Wikipedia applied to Turkey’s Constitutional Court on May 9 after its appeal against the ruling that blocked access to it was rejected by a local court.
Communications Minister Ahmet Arslan had in December 2017 defended the ongoing ban on Wikipedia, saying the site should “blame itself for the ban.”
“As we are trying to deal with all this terrorism, [Wikipedia] makes us look like we work with terror groups,” Arslan said.
Five months after Wikipedia was banned in Turkey, a “pirate” website of it was launched in the country. A “mirrored” version of the site is also available, with users simply typing a “0” before “wikipedia” in the URL to access all Wikipedia content.
Hurriyet Daily News