Wikipedia seeks 'counsel' after Turkish site blocked
April 29, 2017
Turkish authorities have blocked access to the popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia. No official reason was given, but local media said the move was related to associating Turkey with terrorism.
Turkey on Saturday blocked access to all content of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, the latest squeeze on information access in the country.
Turkey Blocks, an organization that monitors internet censorship, said an administrative order blocked all language versions of the online encyclopedia.
Several major internet operators had complied with the order.
"The loss of availability is consistent with internet filters used to censor content in the country," Turkey Blocks said. The organization added that an administrative order was usually followed by a full court order.
Turkey's Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) said the administrative measure was taken after "technical analysis and legal consideration on Law Nr. 5651."
Turkey's private NTV television network, which itself has come under criticism for censoring anti-government content, said access to Wikipedia was blocked for content supporting terrorism. It also said the block was implemented due to entries "placing Turkey on the same level as the 'Islamic State'" despite requests to remove the content.
NTV said the block would be lifted after the US-based Wikipedia implemented four demands: opening a representative office in Turkey; complying with court orders; acting in line with international law; and refraining from taking part in "operations to denigrate" Turkey.
In response to a Deutsche Welle inquiry, the Wikipedia Foundation said that it is "committed to ensuring that Wikipedia remains available to the millions of people who rely on it in Turkey. To that end, we are actively working with outside counsel to seek judicial review of the decision affecting access to Wikipedia. We hope the issue can be resolved promptly."
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Surveillance software used?
A volunteer at Turkey Blocks told DW she suspected that in order to block Wikipedia Turkish authorities used filtering or "Deep Packet Inspection" (DPI) software used by some countries for surveillance and censorship. "Normally http websites are easily blocked, but to block a single URL more advanced techniques have to be used," she said.
"Since Wikipedia uses https protocol, it's not possible to block a single URL, that's why Turkey's Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) blocked the entire website," she added.
Following the block, Wikipedia was the top trending hashtag worldwide and in Turkey.