The Turkish government has blocked online encyclopedia Wikipedia using a law that bans access to sites considered obscene or a threat to national security. Website Turkey Blocks said citizens were unable to access Wikipedia without using a VPN as of 8:00 am local time Saturday.
"After technical analysis and legal consideration [...] an administrative measure has been taken for this website (Wikipedia.Org)," said Turkey’s BTK telecommunications watchdog in a statement.
The law it cites puts blocks in place for the protection of public order, national security or the well-being of the public. The state-run Anadolu Agency writes that Turkey’s Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications Ministry blocked the site due to its articles and comments showing Turkey in coordination and aligned with various terrorist groups.
“Instead of coordinating against terrorism, it has become part of an information source which is running a smear campaign against Turkey in the international arena,” said the ministry. The block was put in place after Wikipedia refused to take down the offending content at the request of the Turkish government.
Turkey Blocks reports that the blockage was approved by the Ankara first Criminal Court of Peace. Some users speculate that the ban is a result of criticism on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Wikipedia page. The actions mean Turkey now joins China on the list of countries that completely blocks Wikipedia.
Last year, Turkey blocked access to several sites and online services, including Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, and Github, as it tried to control the spread of almost 60,000 stolen government emails.
In December 2016, a crackdown on VPN users led to the blocking of anonymity network The Onion Router, aka Tor. Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube have been blocked several times, and many anti-government sites remain inaccessible.