Turkey’s Constitutional Court has ruled that a ban on Wikipedia that has lasted for 2.5 years to be a rights violation, and has called for the ban to be removed.
The Wikipedia Foundation, which owns the website, individually applied to the Constitutional Court to lift the ban, and the court voted in favor of doing so in a majority vote of 10-6 on Thursday.
In April of 2017, the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) banned the world’s largest online encyclopedia on the grounds that it “refused to remove content that attemped to depict Turkey as in collaboration with terror organizations” due to articles referring to Turkey’s alleged support for terrorist groups in Syria, including a reference to an infamous 2014 incident where images were published of trucks belonging to Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) transporting weapons and ammunition into Syria. The government insisted that the shipments were going to Turkmen groups in Syria, though many believed they were supporting armed jihadist groups.
The Wikipedia Foundation campaigned actively to raise awareness regarding the extended ban in an attempt to get it reversed and regain unrestricted access to site within Turkey.
Despite alternative ways of accessing the site, such as typing 0 before Wikipedia in the URL or using a VPN, usage of the site within Turkey decreased significantly following the ban. Other popular websites like Booking.com and Paypal remain banned in the country, though the former can also be used to book hotels within the country with a VPN.