Monitor: Turkish internet users unable to access Wikipedia
12:44, May 7, 2017
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Reports that Turkey may ban matchmaking reality shows emerged this year in March, when Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said that "there are some unusual programs that would scrap the institution of family, take away its nobility and sanctity".
The move to block Wikipedia caused uproar on social media in Turkey with users angrily denouncing the decision to restrict access to one of the world's most popular websites.
Anadolu news agency said officials have warned Wikipedia to remove content likening Turkey to terror groups but the site "persistently" did not.
The local internet monitoring group, Turkey Blocks, stated that this is the latest measure from the government to crack down on free speech rights of residents within the nation.
It said the ban would be lifted if Wikipedia met the government's demands.
"After technical analysis and legal consideration.an administrative measure has been taken for this website (Wikipedia.Org)", the BTK telecommunications watchdog said in a statement on its website.
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Internet users early Saturday began reporting problems trying to reach the site, the ubiquitous online encyclopedia that provides free access and lets users edit its content.
Many observers say Turkey - a member of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and a USA ally - has taken a decided authoritarian turn when it comes to the free flow of information. The blocking of Wikipedia coincides with mounting Western criticism of an erosion of basic liberties in Turkey.
Turkey's official news agency, quoting the Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications, said on Saturday (Sunday NZT) the site was blocked for "becoming an information source acting with groups conducting a smear campaign against Turkey in the global arena".
No reason was given for the order to block Wikipedia and other websites, including leading social media, appeared to be working normally.
The government has in the past denied that it blocks the internet, blaming outages on spikes in usage after major events.
This isn't the first time Turkish authorities have blocked certain websites, with the likes of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube suffering this fate on multiple occasions- usually in the wake of mass protests or terror attacks.
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