Wikipedia Becomes Inaccessible In President Erdogan’s Turkey

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Turkey has blocked access to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.

The Turkish government accuses Wikipedia of running a terror “smear campaign” that presents Turkey as a supporter of terror, state-run Anadolu Agency reports.

President Erdogan does not like Tweets. In the past he has vowed to take out Tweeter.

CNN reports:

Articles and comments on the popular online encyclopedia showed Turkey “in coordination and aligned” with terrorist groups, the Turkish Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications said.

“It has become part of an information source which is running a smear campaign against Turkey in the international arena,” the ministry said.

Turkey warned Wikipedia to remove such content, but the nonprofit encyclopedia refused, the government said.

Once Wikipedia meets Turkey’s demands, the access ban will be lifted, it said.

‘Access to information is a fundamental right’

Turkey Blocks, a group that monitors censorship, said the crackdown on access to all editions of the site began as of 8 a.m. local time Saturday.

Wikimedia Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports Wikipedia, said it is “actively working with outside counsel to seek judicial review of the decision affecting access to Wikipedia.”

“Wikipedia is a rich and valuable source of neutral, reliable information,” the foundation said in a statement. “We are committed to ensuring that Wikipedia remains available to the millions of people who rely on it in Turkey.”

The site’s founder, Jimmy Wales, said in a tweet, “Access to information is a fundamental right. Turkish people, I will always stand with you and fight for this right.”

Wikipedia says on its site that the encyclopedia is “written collaboratively by largely anonymous volunteers who write without pay.”

“Anyone with Internet access can write and make changes to Wikipedia articles, except in limited cases where editing is restricted to prevent disruption or vandalism. Users can contribute anonymously, under a pseudonym, or, if they choose to, with their real identity,” it says.

Many observers say Turkey — a member of NATO and a US ally — has taken a decided authoritarian turn when it comes to the free flow of information.

It has blocked social media in the past, such as Twitter and YouTube, and the Committee to Protect Journalists regards the country as “the world’s worst jailer of journalists.”

Edmondo Burr
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