Access Ban on Wikipedia lifted in Turkey

Last night, Turkish authorities lifted the longstanding access ban to Wikipedia in the country, following the publication of the judgment of the Turkish Constitutional Court that held (by a majority of ten to six) the ban to be an impermissible interference with the right to freedom of expression.

The access ban on Wikipedia and all of its language versions had been in place since April 2017. As of this morning, access has been fully restored across the country.

In May 2019, the Wikimedia Foundation filed an application to the European Court of Human Rights which was swiftly communicated by to the Turkish Government, under the Court’s Priority Policy. The Turkish Government has this week submitted its written observations to the Strasbourg Court. The Foundation now has until the end of February to respond to the Government’s observations.

Can Yeginsu is leading Anthony Jones for the Wikimedia Foundation before the European Court of Human Rights. Hannah Daly has also assisted at earlier stages of the case. The Foundation is also represented by Gönenç Gürkaynak, founding partner of ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law in Istanbul.

Commenting in today’s edition of The New York Times, Can Yeginsu said of the proceedings before the Constitutional Court: “Any judicial process that takes so long puts into question its own effectiveness”. The effectiveness of judicial review of access bans in Turkey is an issue in the proceedings at the Strasbourg Court. A link to the full news report is here.

The case has received wide coverage in the international press today:

– Washington Post, Turkey lifts more than 2-year block on Wikipedia, available here
– France 24, Turkey lifts ban on Wikipedia, available here
– Reuters, Turkey ban on Wikipedia lifted after court ruling, available here
– Deutsche Welle, Wikipedia back online in Turkey after judge lifts ban, available here
– Voice of America, Turkey Lifts Ban on Wikipedia, available here
– Bloomberg, Turkey Removes Ban on Wikipedia After Almost Three Years, available here

A press release from the Wikimedia Foundation, issued yesterday, is available here.

All press enquiries, including requests for comment, should be directed in the first instance to Sam Lien at slien@wikimedia.org