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Erdogan named 'Turkish dictator' on Wikipedia

Kai Dambach
April 16, 2017

As results of Sunday's constitutional referendum rolled in, one Wikipedia user took the opportunity to make his or her opinion clear. The edit has since been removed and the page is blocked from editing for a week.

Türkei Silhouette Tayyip Erdogan
Image: Reuters/H. Aldemir

With all eyes on Turkey's referendum vote on Sunday, one Wikipedia user decided it was his or her chance to take a swipe at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who stands to have his power consolidated as a result of the "yes" vote.

In the first sentence of the English-language Wikipedia article on Erdogan, the user called the Turkish president a dictator. The edit has since been removed and cannot be edited by unregistered users for at least one week. 

Screenshot Wikipedia Erdogan
The English-language Wikipedia entry for President Erdogan, as it appeared ca. 20:00 UTC on Sunday, April 16Image: Screenshot Wikipedia

The user is not alone in criticizing Erdogan. Following the attempted military coup in July 2016, Turkey has been under a state of emergency that has been strongly criticized by foreign leaders as heading down the path towards a dictatorship. The state of emergency gives the Turkish government the power to fire state employees and extended the time suspects can be held in jail without being charged.

More than 100,000 people, including soldiers, police officers and teachers have been removed from their positions since the start of the state of emergency. At least 40,000 people have been arrested following the attempted coup in Turkey for suspected links to US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Turkey accuses of influencing last year's attempted coup.

Sunday's referendum vote is set to consolidate Erdogan's powers, including the right to create budgets, dissolve parliament, and appoint and dismiss government ministers or judges without parliamentary approval.