Turkish Government’s Ban On Wikipedia Overturned By Constitutional Court

Turkish Government’s Ban On Wikipedia Overturned By Constitutional Court
Panoramic view of the courtyard of the Blue Mosque, in Istanbul, Turkey
Image by Benh LIEU SONG

The Turkish Constitutional Court has ruled that blocking the Wikipedia page by the Turkish government is a violation of freedom of expression. The decision was taken by 10 votes in favour, ordering the government to unblock the site immediately.

The Turkish government blocked all editions in various languages ​​of Wikipedia in April 2017, following several posts on the site, which claimed that government officials were involved in oil trading with the Islamic State and accused Turkey of backing and financing ISIS and other terrorist organizations.

After Wikipedia refused to remove the content from the site, expressing its opposition to censorship, the Turkish government declared that Wikipedia was part of a smear campaign against the country.

Some officials argued that under Turkish media law, the government may block the site if it believes that national security is violated. They further added that this was a mere “administrative measure”.

On December 18, the Albanian government adopted a similar law on online media. By law, the government can block the site of an online portal through the AMA in cases where national security is violated.

This law has been criticized by many journalist organizations, the OSCE and the EU for arguing that it violates freedom of expression, but independently this parliament approved it with 82 votes in favor.

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