Turkey to block Wikipedia 'until it removes false content'

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Turkey will not allow access to Wikipedia inside the country until rulings ordering the online encyclopedia to remove content that Ankara deems to be false are implemented, the head of the country's communications agency said Wednesday.

Turkey's Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) implemented the ban on wikipedia.org on Saturday as an "administrative measure" and an Ankara court on Monday then backed this up with a formal court order.

The site remains inaccessible.

Local media said that the ban on the entire site was implemented as Wikipedia failed to remove two English-language pages that Ankara believes falsely linked Turkey to the activities of terror groups.

"It's impossible for access to Wikipedia to be allowed until judiciary decisions are followed," BTK head Omer Fatih Sayan said, quoted by the website of the Hurriyet daily.

State media said the ban was imposed as Wikipedia failed to respond to repeated requests by Ankara to remove content it believes are promoting terror and accusing Turkey of cooperation with various terror groups.

The Wikimedia Foundation has appealed the Ankara court's ruling, Hurriyet reported.

Istanbul municipality officials on Tuesday also removed Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales from the guest list of the World Cities Expo, a major international conference to be held in the city on May 15-18.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has condemned the Turkish ban and tweeted "access to information is a fundamental human right" (photo by: ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/File)

Reacting to the ban for Wikipedia on Saturday, Wales said on Twitter: "Access to information is a fundamental huma n right. Turkish people, I will always stand with you to fight for this right."

Turkey has frequently blocked access to websites temporarily including popular websites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube following terror attacks or anti-government demonstrations.

While opponents claim they are a restriction on freedom of speech and civil liberties, the government insists they are necessary for national security and temporary.

Savvy internet users frequently resort to the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to get around these bans although there have been complaints that the use of VPNs has now also started to be blocked.

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