Turkey Bans Wikipedia and Warns of “Smear Campaign”
As it continues to orchestrate a wide-ranging political crackdown, the Turkish government has added Wikipedia to its growing list of enemies. Turkey decided to take more drastic measures than other countries that have denied access to specific encyclopedia entries. It blocked the entire website, including the Turkish and foreign-language editions. A government telecommunications agency was able to take this action thanks to a broad internet censorship rule. The law permits it to target any website that harms Turkey’s citizens or threatens its security in some way.
Official media carried a harsh statement from the Ministry of Communications. It criticized Wikipedia for participating in a global campaign to tarnish Turkey’s reputation. The ministry noted that certain encyclopedia entries accuse Turkish authorities of aiding militants. Its statement also complained about Wikipedia’s refusal to cooperate with government officials in the fight against terrorism. State media mentioned that the authorities remain willing to restore access to Wikipedia. However, the internet encyclopedia would need to remove specific material before this happens.
Ban Takes Effect
Turkey’s internet service providers enacted the new policy shortly after it was announced. A monitoring organization reported that Wikipedia became inaccessible during the morning on April 29. Error messages appeared when people tried to visit the website in cities across Turkey. This isn’t the first time that authorities have denied access to online content. For example, they’ve temporarily stopped users from viewing major social networks like Facebook and Twitter. However, the government’s policy on Wikipedia seems as if it may remain in effect for a much longer period of time.
Turkey has increased media censorship and punished dissenters in the months following an abortive coup. It recently banned over 150 media organizations. Police arrested reporters who verbally criticized the authorities or used Twitter to post anti-government messages. They also jailed more than 45,000 other citizens suspected of political crimes. Over 100,000 state workers have lost their jobs in the crackdown. The authorities targeted numerous nonprofit organizations and even forced medical clinics to close their doors. Turkey’s leader has defended the campaign and justified it by warning of threats to national security.
The online encyclopedia has so far rejected Turkey’s demands. Founder Jimmy Wales posted a message about the issue on Twitter. He stated that Turkish citizens have a right to view information on the internet and he will work to reverse the ban. The Wikimedia Foundation responded with a detailed blog entry. It suggested that Turkey’s government had misunderstood Wikipedia’s goals. The organization completely opposes terrorism and isn’t involved in a propaganda campaign, according to its blog post. It has encouraged Turkish officials to cancel the ban.
Wikipedia contains almost 300,000 entries in the Turkish language. They supply information about the country’s past, its cities and its cultural traditions. People will no longer have the ability to access this content when they want to perform research or simply learn a few facts about topics of interest. The website plays an important role for Turkish internet users and people around the world. Global statistics show that over 26 million individuals have created user accounts. Web surfers view about 18 billion encyclopedia entries in an average month.
Back in 2007, far fewer people browsed Wikipedia. A survey found that only around one out of three Americans with internet access were using it. This number increased by 17 percent in only three years. The website continued to attract more users as it gained credibility and added tremendous amounts of content. Although people may still use conventional encyclopedias if they don’t have access to Wikipedia, these resources haven’t been able to keep up. They offer high-quality information but cannot create and update entries as quickly.
Every year, over 240,000 fresh content pages appear on Wikipedia. People use it to research topics ranging from cat breeds to antique coffee makers, but a few subjects draw the bulk of its visitors. Pew Research reports that the most popular entries offer information on well-known movies and subjects related to recent news headlines. For instance, the entry about “Star Wars” ranks among the top English-language pages. Many internet users also visit the encyclopedia to learn about historical events, sports, music and social media networks.
Wikipedia appeals to some groups of people more than others. Computer users tend to browse it frequently if they have high incomes, fast internet connections or university degrees. The encyclopedia also attracts young people, especially students. Although some professors recommend more conventional references, the vast majority of college undergraduates use Wikipedia for research purposes. A University of Washington survey found that many of them check it first and use other resources to find in-depth details. Only about one in five university students completely avoid the website when they work on assignments.
These facts highlight the great importance of Wikipedia to people around the globe. This online encyclopedia appears in the international news headlines and ranks among the world’s top websites. If you run a company or nonprofit, it’s crucial to ensure that Wikipedia provides accurate details about your organization. Politicians and celebrities should pay attention to this website as well. Get Your Wiki can provide helpful services. Our professional writers, editors and translators develop high-quality Wikipedia entries that follow all of the website’s rules. We also monitor clients’ pages and edit them when necessary. Please contact Get Your Wiki for further information and a free estimate.