Ban on Wikipedia ends in Turkey after top court ruling

Turkish authorities lifted a two-and-a-half-year ban on the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, following the publication of a ruling issued by the country’s Constitutional Court on Official Gazette on Wednesday.

The local court in Ankara, which ruled blocking access to Wikipedia upon the Turkish Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) ‘s application, decided to lift the ban on early Wednesday, Diken online news outlet reported.

The Turkish Constitutional Court on Wednesday published its long-awaited ruling and conveyed it to the first-instance court in Ankara. The first instance court delivered its decision of lifting the access block to Wikipedia and said it would notify BTK of its decision to open access to Wikipedia, Sputnik news said.

On December 26, The Constitutional Court handed its decision by a majority of ten to six and ruled that the ban on the online encyclopedia violates freedom of expression. However, the access ban remained until the official publication of the ruling. Users regained access in the early hours of Wednesday.

Turkey was one of the few countries across the globe where access to the online encyclopedia was entirely blocked.

BTK had filed with a local court in Ankara a motion of ban against Wikipedia due to entries on Turkey and Erdogan.

In those entries, Turkey was accused of aiding Islamist terrorist organization, and Erdogan was presented among the leaders plotting a coup attempt in his political interest.

The first instance court in Ankara ruled on 29 April 2017 in favor of a ban on Wikipedia. Although Wikipedia appealed against the ruling before the Turkish Constitutional Court, users in Turkey were barred from accessing the online sharing-knowledge platform.

Can Dündar, a veteran Turkish journalist in exile in Germany, tweeted that Erdogan’s name was removed from an entry in Wikipedia about the leaders who were accused of conspiring a self-coup to reinforce their ruling.

Although many celebrated the opening of access to Wikipedia, many cited the removal of some entries on Turkey and Erdogan as the real reason for lifting the ban on Wikipedia.

Nearly 300,000 websites blocked in Turkey in five years – report

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