The Turkish government blocked access to Wikipedia early Saturday, citing a law which is said to protect national security, in response to Wikipedia’s refusal to remove content the Turkish government believed to be smearing their country.
The Ministry of Transport, Maritime, and Communication defended its blocking of Wikipedia incomplaining the online encyclopedia was unwilling to remove articles and comments that portray Turkey to be in coordination and aligned with various terrorist groups.
“Instead of coordinating against terrorism, it has become part of an information source which is running a smear campaign against Turkey in the international arena,” the ministry stated via email.
The Turkish government invoked an administrative order related to Law 5651, which grants the government broad discretion to regulate online content.
Wikipedia was asked to remove content which was said to have upset Turkish officials. Wikipedia refused, and co-founder Jimmy Wales tweeted a defense of Wikipedia’s actions and his steadfast support of the Turkish people.
— Jimmy Wales (@jimmy_wales) April 29, 2017
The censorship of Wikipedia reportedly began Saturday morning at approximately 8 am local time, according to Turkish Internet censorship monitoring group TurkeyBlocks.org. They say they noticed that the loss of traffic was consistent with “internet filters used to censor content in Turkey.”
The Turkish government has blocked multiple sites recently, including but not limited to: Wikileaks, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Social media was usually targeted around times of social unrest such as the Gezi Park protests. Multiple journalists have also been arrested, while others have been imprisoned for having an anti-Erdogan stance.