Court rules Turkey Wikipedia ban violates rights

Turkey’s highest court on Thursday ruled that the country’s ban on the Wikipedia website violates freedom of expression, The Associated Press reported, citing the country’s state-run news agency.

The court’s justices reportedly voted 10-6 in favor of Wikipedia. 

Turkey blocked access to Wikipedia under a law that allows it to restrict access to material that is considered to be a threat to national security in April 2017. 

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The block came after Turkey’s communications ministry argued that the website attempted to run a “smear campaign” against the country by allowing certain articles to claim that the Turkish government coordinated with militant groups. 

In May 2017 Wikipedia petitioned the Constitutional Court after talks with Turkish officials and a challenge in lower courts failed, according to the AP. 

The Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that operates Wikipedia, celebrated the decision on Thursday. 

“We hope that access will be restored in Turkey soon in the light of this new ruling from Turkey’s highest court,” the foundation’s statement said, adding that it will update its comment if it received notification that the block has been lifted. 

“We join the people of Turkey, and the millions of readers and volunteers who rely on Wikipedia around the world, to welcome this important recognition for universal access to knowledge.”

Updated at 10:48 a.m.

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