Wikipedia is a mammoth digital encyclopedia that contains millions of articles written in over 200 languages by thousands of volunteer subscribers. Wikipedia is the most popular online encyclopedia on the internet. The colossal online reference receives more than millions of hits on a daily basis. Unfortunately, Wikipedia has been blocked in Turkey by the Turkish government today (Saturday, April 29, 2017) at 8:00 a.m. (Turkey’s local time).
The Turkish government took down Wikipedia and blocked any access to it without a clear reason or an official court order. Turkey’s Information and Communication Technologies Authority stated:
“After technical analysis and legal consideration based on the Law Nr. 5651 [governing the internet], an administrative measure has been taken for this website.”
The agency did not provide any further details on why Wikipedia has been blocked. On the other hand, Law Nr. 5651 gives the Turkish government the right to block access to any web content that is suspicious of threatening the country’s public welfare and national security.
Turkey Blocks, a group that monitors internet censorship, commented on the situation saying, “the loss of availability is consistent with internet filters used to censor content in the country.”
Furthermore, Andalou news agency mentioned that taking down Wikipedia in Turkey is probably related to the Turkish government request to remove all content that links Turkey to global terrorism from Wikipedia’s website. However, Wikipedia did not comply with Turkey’s request for such alterations. The have further added that if Turkey’s demands are met, Wikipedia will be available again for Turkish netizens.
According to NTV, the Turkish government also demanded Wikipedia to open up a branch (an office) in Turkey that should operate under international laws and regulations and “not be part of the blackout operation against Turkey”.
Internet users in Turkey have attempted to access Wikipedia, but they received messages saying that the website cannot be reached and “connection time out”.
Ever since the failed coup d’etat that shook up Turkey last year, several websites have been blocked and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan‘s government has tightened its grip even more on internet freedom.
According to the Daily Progress, “Turkey’s status is listed as “not free” on the 2016 Freedom on the Net index by independent rights watchdog Freedom House. It says over 111,000 websites were blocked as of May last year.”
The Guardian also mentioned that “Since last year’s failed coup, authorities have sacked or suspended more than 120,000 people from the civil service, police and judiciary and arrested more than 40,000. The country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said the measures were needed given the scope of the security threat Turkey faced.”
How to Access Wikipedia in Turkey?
The only effective way to unblock Wikipedia in Turkey is by using VPN services. VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) create an encrypted and secure tunnel inside the internet through which a user’s data traffic is routed. They also anonymise a user’s identity by hiding his/her original IP address (e.g: Turkish IP) and replacing it with a fake one (e.g: US IP) to bypass geo-restrictions imposed by the Turkish government and get full access to Wikipedia. This means that VPN users in Turkey would appear as if they are trying to access Wikipedia from an entirely different location than Turkey. Click here for the best VPN services to unblock Wikipedia in Turkey.