Turkish authorities open access to Wikipedia after top court's ruling

Turkish authorities have opened access to Wikipedia after a Constitutional Court verdict ordering to lift a more than two year ban was published in the Official Gazette on Wednesday.

Users in Turkey have been accessing Wikipedia since 10:40 a.m. local time, T-24 news site reported

Turkey's Constitutional Court ruled on Dec. 26  by a 10-to-six majority that the ban on Wikipedia violated freedom of speech, but access to the web-based non-profit reference site remained blocked until the Official Gazette published the court’s justification for the verdict.

Turkey’s Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) had banned access to Wikipedia in April 2017 due to entries that accused Turkey of having links to terrorist organisations.

An appeal by Wikipedia’s parent Wikimedia Foundation had revealed that the articles titled “Foreign Involvement in the Syrian Civil War” and “State-sponsored Terrorism” were behind the BTK’s decision.

Wikimedia Foundation had applied to Turkey’s highest court to challenge the block, while academics Yaman Akdeniz and Kerem Altıparmak, who are known for their efforts to expand freedom of speech in Turkey, had also applied to the court for personal damages that had occurred due to the ban. 

Turkey’s top court accepted Akdeniz and Altıparmak’s claim over personal damages, said the ban had been imposed by an arbitrary interpretation of the Turkish law and ruled that the ban restricted freedom of access to information, T24 said.