Turkey vows to persists on censorship of Wikipedia

Ömer Fatih Sayan, the head of Turkey’s Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK), said on Wednesday that it is impossible to grant access to the Wikipedia, unless Turkey’s judicial decisions are implemented.

“No one has the right to say, ‘I do not recognize the Turkish courts,’” Sayan said, while expressing his sadness over the access ban. Sayan, who is also a brother of Turkish Minister of Family and Social Policy Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya, said authorities were open to any kind of cooperation on condition that the website administration abide by the law to implement judicial decisions so as to permit access. “Freedom of expression is not one-sided. Information must be right and should not be distorted,” he said.

The telecommunications watchdog stated on Saturday that it had blocked access to Wikipedia, citing a law allowing it to ban access to websites deemed obscene or a threat to national security. The Ankara 1st Criminal Court of Peace later ordered the ban after the Wikipedia administration reportedly refused to remove two English-language pages claiming that Ankara channeled support to jihadists in Syria. In response, the Wikimedia Foundation appealed the court ruling that came after the administrative measure on the website.

It also stated that the access ban was “disproportionate” and against freedom of expression. BTK said an Ankara court ordered that a “protection measure” related to suspected Internet crimes be applied to Wikipedia.

In response, Wikipedia founder Wales tweeted his support for those who labeled the decision censorship of social media: “Access to information is a fundamental human right. Turkish people I will always stand with you to fight for this right.”

Quoting the Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications Ministry, state-run Anadolu news agency said the site had been blocked for “becoming an information source acting with groups conducting a smear campaign against Turkey in the international arena.”

Following the ban, Istanbul Municipality also withdrew an event invitation for Jimmy Wales, a co-founder of Wikipedia. The İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality has taken the name of Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales from the invitee list of an event that will take place in İstanbul after Turkey blocked access to the online encyclopedia on Tuesday.

May 3, 2017

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