İstanbul cancels invitation to Wikipedia founder after controversial ban

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Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales

The İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality has removed the name of Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales from the invitee list of an event that will take place in İstanbul after Turkey blocked access to the online encyclopedia, the Hürriyet daily reported on Tuesday.

Wales was going to attend the World Cities Expo event, which will be held in İstanbul between May 15-18.

In remarks on the Hürriyet website on Monday, Wales said İstanbul is one of the cities he loves most and that he was very excited about the visit he would pay to the city.

A statement released by the press office of the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality on Tuesday said the name of Wikipedia founder Wales has been removed from the list of invitees of the World Cities Expo event and that Wales has been informed about this decision.

The municipality’s decision came in the wake of a controversial ban imposed on Wikipedia by Turkish authorities last week.

Turkey blocked access to Wikipedia last Saturday, through a court measure used to block access to pages or entire websites to protect “national security and public order.”

The Turkish Telecommunications Authority (BTK) said an Ankara court ordered that a “protection measure” related to suspected Internet crimes be applied to Wikipedia.

In response, Wikipedia founder Wales tweeted his support for those who labeled the decision censorship of social media: “Access to information is a fundamental human right. Turkish people I will always stand with you to fight for this right.”

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