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Image credit: KEMAL ASLAN / Reuters

Turkish court backs censorship of Wikipedia

The country continues to crack down on free speech with this rejected appeal.
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KEMAL ASLAN / Reuters

When Turkey blocked Wikipedia last week, its co-founder Jimmy Wales promised to push for a judicial review of the online censorship. Today, however, Ankara's 1st Criminal Court of Peace rejected Wikimedia Foundation's appeal, saying that popular crowdsourced site contained entries that link Turkey to terrorist groups. The court ruled that since the "offending" Wikipedia pages remain on the site, it would not remove the country-wide block.

"Turkey is a state of law," said the president of the country's Information and Communication Technologies Authority, Omer Fatih Sayan. "It is not possible to open access to Wikipedia so long as the decisions [country's demands] are not implemented."

The ban instated last Saturday, April 29th, isn't the first time Turkey's ruling party has tried to silence online dissent in the country. The telecommunications watchdog group Turkey Blocks confirmed last December that the government had blocked access to the Tor anonymity network for most users. The government also shut off internet service in 11 Kurdish cities, began investigating 10,000 social network users and used its internet censorship laws to block Reddit.

We've reached out to the Wikimedia Foundation for comment on this matter.

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