Wikipedia still banned in Turkey despite top court's violation ruling

Wikipedia is still unaccessible in Turkey despite the country’s top court's decision to lift the ban on the website, Birgün daily reported on Sunday.

Turkey's Constitutional Court on Dec. 26 ruled that the ban on Wikipedia violates freedom of speech, however, the Turkish internet users cannot reach the website despite the ruling, Birgün said.

"The Constitutional Court clearly stated that the ban was a violation. In this case, the court which ruled to block access should reopen the case after it delivers the Constitutional Court's written ruling or its publication in the Official Gazette," Birgün quoted Gökhan Ahi, the founder of Istanbul Bar Association Information Technology Law Centre, as saying. 

Over 245,000 web sites have been blocked in Turkey, while Twitter and Youtube also face temporary blocks and Wikipedia has been banned since 2017, according to Istanbul-based Freedom of Expression Society’s data.

Turkey’s Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) announced the ban on Wikipedia in April of 2017, citing a law that allows the organisation to block access to websites deemed a threat to national security.

Critics have accused Ankara of curtailing freedom of speech and other basic rights as part of a crackdown following the July 2016 coup attempt. Turkey has temporarily blocked social media sites such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter in the past, following terror attacks and protests.

The European Court of Human Rights in August gave Turkey two months to present evidence that barring access to Wikipedia is in line with European human rights standards.