Turkish court rejects Wikipedia appeal over blocked site access

By bne IntelliNews May 5, 2017

An Ankara court on May 5 rejected an appeal lodged by Wikipedia to lift the ban on access to the online encyclopaedia introduced on April 29, state-run news service Anadolu reported.

The country’s telecommunications watchdog (BTK) announced the ban. It said it was introduced according to a court order issued after the site’s administrator refused to remove two English-language pages which allegedly claim that Turkey supports jihadists in Syria.

BTK cited a law allowing it to ban access to websites deemed obscene or a threat to national security, according to Hurriyet Daily News.

In representations to the court considering the appeal, lawyers for the Turkish government reportedly said the content was part of a coordinated smear campaign

The court concluded that freedom of expression can be subject to sanctions necessary to prevent crime in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and relevant articles of the Turkish Constitution, according to Anadolu.

“Some pages have not yet been removed by Wikipedia. Turkey is a state of law. It is not possible to restore access to Wikipedia until the court’s decision is complied with,” the news service quoted Omer Fatih Sayan, president of the BTK, as saying.

Turkey remains in a state of emergency declared after the failed coup of July last year.

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