When looking for detailed information on any topic on the interwebs, there is only one website that helps satisfy your curiosity – Wikipedia. But, the Turkish authorities no longer want you to the digital encyclopedia, which is crafted by the community and has imposed a ban on the same. This ban is a result of ‘a provisional administrative order’ imposed by the country’s telecom authority.
The local internet monitoring group, Turkey Blocks, stated that this is the latest measure from the government to crack down on free speech rights of residents within the nation. It has verified the restrictions applied to Wikipedia and states that a block on all language editions of the was initially detected at 5:00 am GMT (or 10:30 am IST) on Saturday, reports Reuters. The ban has been consistent as the encyclopedia hasn’t been accessible since then. The watchdog further stated that,
The loss of availability is consistent with internet filters used to censor content in the country.
Confirmed: All editions of the #Wikipedia online encyclopedia blocked in #Turkey as of 8:00AM local timehttps://t.co/ybFolRmsOs pic.twitter.com/hI9tn4bHe5
— Turkey Blocks (@TurkeyBlocks) April 29, 2017
While the reason for the surprising ban on Wikipedia’s website was unknown on Saturday morning, the Turkish Telecommunications Authority (now renamed to Bilgi İletişim ve Teknolojileri Kurumu or BTK) has released a statement on their website stating:
After technical analysis and legal consideration based on the Law Nr. 5651, ADMINISTRATION MEASURE has been taken for this website (wikipedia.org) according to Decision Nr. 490.05.01.2017.-182198 dated 29/04/2017 implemented by Information and Communication Technologies Authority.
The local publications further mention that Wikipedia may have been blocked in the country for the time being but an order by the telecom authority would need to be backed by a full court order in the coming weeks. The restriction is in place with support from numerous Internet Service Providers (ISPs) operating in the country. The encyclopedia, among other blocked websites, were the only platforms that were not accessible via Turkish internet.
This ban on Wikipedia, an important source of knowledge for today’s generation didn’t sit well with them. When accessing the online encyclopedia through Turkish ISPs, the website fails to load and users receive a ‘connection timed out’ error. The angered netizens of Turkey are flocking to social media platforms to voice their concern against the Turkish government’s actions. As for how they’re able to access social media (and also Wikipedia), the answer to that is extremely simple – Virtual Private Network or VPN.
Wikipedia currently remains inaccessible in Turkey but we will update you if the situation takes an 180-degree turn, which doesn’t exactly seem possible right at this instant.