Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales Criticizes Move: ‘Access to Information is a Fundamental Human Right’
ANKARA, Turkey (A.W.)—Access to Wikipedia—the free online encyclopedia, ranked among the 10 most popular websites in the world—was blocked by Turkey on April 29.
Turkey’s Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications, announced that the site was blocked for becoming an information source “acting with groups conducting a smear campaign against Turkey in the international arena.”
According to several reports, users in Turkey have been unable to access all language editions of Wikipedia since 8 a.m. (local time) on April 29.
The state-run Anadolu news agency said Turkish officials had previously warned Wikipedia to remove certain sensitive materials, but that the website had refused.
The ban caused a stir on social media in Turkey, as disgruntled users harshly criticized the decision to block access to the popular website.
Shortly after news of the ban began circulating, Jimmy Wales, the founder of the online encyclopedia, criticized the move and vowed to stand with the Turkish people for their right to access to information. “Access to information is a fundamental human right. Turkish people I will always stand with you to fight for this right,” Wales tweeted.
“Turkey’s ban on Wikipedia is just the most recent example of their relentless global campaign to control what their own citizens can hear and what other countries can say,” Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian told the Armenian Weekly.
In the past, Turkey has temporarily blocked access to several popular sites—including YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter—especially in the wake of major events, which it has deemed threats to its national security.