The Turkish government has said it completely blocked Wikipedia – the online encyclopaedia – over its refusal to delete articles and comments that suggest the country is co-operating with “terrorist groups”.
Turkish officials have reportedly been in contact with the site’s administrators on numerous occasions to ask them to take down the disputed content the state objects to, but Wikipedia has refused to comply.
The state-run Anadolou Agency in Turkey quotes Turkish officials from the Department of Communications as saying that Wikipedia has “has started acting as part of the circles who carry out a smear campaign against Turkey in the international arena, rather than being cooperative in fight against terror.”
In pictures: Turkey coup attempt
In pictures: Turkey coup attempt
Turkish President Erdogan attends the funeral service for victims of the thwarted coup in Istanbul at Fatih mosque on July 17, 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey
Burak Kara/Getty Images
Soldiers involved in the coup attempt surrender on Bosphorus bridge with their hands raised in Istanbul on 16 July, 2016
A civilian beats a soldier after troops involved in the coup surrendered on the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey, 16 July, 2016
Surrendered Turkish soldiers who were involved in the coup are beaten by a civilian
Soliders involved in the coup attempt surrender on Bosphorus bridge
Supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wave flags as they capture a Turkish Army vehicle
People pose near a tank after troops involved in the coup surrendered on the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey, 16 July, 2016
Turkish soldiers block Istanbul's Bosphorus Brigde
A Turkish military stands guard near the Taksim Square in Istanbul
Turkish soldiers secure the area as supporters of Recep Tayyip Erdogan protest in Istanbul's Taksim square
Turkish soldiers detain police officers during a security shutdown of the Bosphorus Bridge
Turkish Army armoured personnel carriers in the main streets of Istanbul
Chaos reigned in Istanbul as tanks drove through the streets
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks to media in the resort town of Marmaris
Supporters of President Erdogan celebrate in Ankara following the suppression of the attempted coup
The website suggests that Turkey is “at the same level and in cooperation with terror groups”, the report said.
The block affecting all language editions of Wikipedia was ordered by Turkish authorities, according to the monitoring group Turkey Blocks, who said in statement: “The loss of availability is consistent with internet filters used to censor content in the country.”
No court order was obtained before the ban, but Turkey Blocks said it expects the government will be granted one in the next few days.
Wikipedia’s founder Jimmy Wales said he would stand with the people of Turkey following the latest censorship.
Mr Wales said on Twitter: “Access to information is a fundamental human right. Turkish people I will always stand with you to fight for this right.”
Over the years, the Turkish state has sporadically blocked its people’s access to major sites including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, often in the wake of major events including popular protests or bomb attacks – although officials have blamed spikes in internet usage for websites being unavailable at times.
In March 2014 Twitter was banned for several months after it was its users shared footage of an alleged security meeting in Syria.
And in 2013, severe restrictions were imposed on social media during mass anti-government protests.
Officials have cited a law that allows it to block access to any websites deemed obscene or a risk to national security – although the country has also banned dating shows.
Authorities in the country claim to have sacked close to 4,000 civil servants and military and police personnel in another sweeping purge of officials since President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won sweeping new powers in a referendum.
Last week more than 9,000 police workers were suspended together with prison officers and civil servants for alleged links to the cleric Fethullah Gülen, who the government holds responsible for the failed coup against Mr Erdogan last July.
Media freedom in Turkey has steadily declined since 2010, but more sharply since the attempted coup, with hundreds of journalists being arrested and dozens of media outlets being closed down or taken over.
Hurriyet Daily News said Turkey has been in communication with Wikipedia for the removal of content supporting terror and presenting Turkey as a “supporter of terror”.
Turkish TV network NTV reported that the government demanded that Wikipedia open an office in the country, act in line with international law and abide by court decisions and “not be part of the blackout operation against Turkey”.
If these demands are met and the content removed, the site would be reopened, according to the network.Reuse content