Turkey set to lift access ban on Wikipedia after 32 months

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The Turkish Constitutional Court on Wednesday issued a detailed version of its December ruling that a 32-month block on access to online encyclopedia Wikipedia in Turkey was a violation of freedom of expression.

The detailed ruling was issued in the country’s Official Gazette. The ruling opens the way for lifting the website ban, which has been in place since 2017 due to entries that accused Turkey of having links to terrorist organizations.

In December the Constitutional Court ruled in favor of Wikipedia, saying the Turkish government’s ban on the online encyclopedia constitutes a violation of freedom of expression.

Turkey blocked Wikipedia in April 2017, accusing it of being part of a “smear campaign” against the country, after the website refused to remove content that allegedly portrayed Turkey as supporting the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other terrorist organizations.

Access to Wikipedia and all its language editions was blocked under a law that allows the government to ban websites it deems pose a national security threat.

Wikipedia declined to remove content from the community-generated site, citing its opposition to censorship. It petitioned the Constitutional Court in May 2017 after talks with Turkish officials and a challenge in lower courts failed.

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