Turkey has verified restrictions on online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, the country’s telecommunications watchdog has said, citing a law that allows it to ban access to websites deemed obscene or a threat to national security.
The Turkey Blocks monitoring group said Wikipedia was unreachable from 08:00 (05:00 GMT). People in Istanbul were unable to access any pages without using a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
“After technical analysis and legal consideration based on the Law Nr. 5651 [governing the internet], an administrative measure has been taken for this website,” Turkey’s Information and Communication Technologies Authority was quoted as saying, giving no further details.
It was further learnt that Wikipedia had been asked to remove content by certain writers whom the authorities accuse of “supporting terror” and of linking Turkey to terror groups.
A block on all language editions of the online encyclopaedia was detected at 5am GMT on Saturday, monitoring group Turkey Blocks said on its website.
“The loss of availability is consistent with internet filters used to censor content in the country,” it said.
When attempting to access the webpage using Turkish internet providers, users received a notice that the site could not be reached and a “connection timed out” error.
Monitoring groups have accused Turkey of blocking access to social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook, particularly in the aftermath of militant attacks.
Turkey Blocks and Turkish media, including Hurriyet, said the provisional order would need to be backed by a full court ruling in the next few days.