January 16 (UPI) – After an almost three-year power outage, the Turkish government restored public access to the Wikipedia information website on Thursday after a successful legal challenge.
The Wikimedia Foundation wrote in a blog post that it has received reports that users in Turkey have been able to access the online user-written encyclopedia for the first time since it was blocked by government officials in April 2017.
Ankara has taken measures to block the website because Turkey is listed on the English language Wikipedia as a state that supports the Islamic State and Al Qaeda terrorist groups.
Access to the website was restored after the official publication of a court on Wednesday, which found that the block violated the freedom of expression guaranteed in the Turkish constitution.
The court, which is the highest in Turkey for constitutional issues, overturned a court ruling last month that upheld the government’s ban on Wikipedia to launch a “vilification campaign” claiming that Turkey sponsored terrorism.
The Constitutional Court said its 33-page judgment was based on precedents regarding freedom of expression set by the European Court of Human Rights and the United Nations.
Another case is pending before the EU court at the Wikimedia Foundation, in which it was given priority last summer.
“We will continue to work for strong protection of freedom of expression in Turkey and around the world,” said the group.
“We are delighted to be reuniting with the Turkish people,” added Wikimedia Foundation managing director Katherine Maher. “We are committed to protecting everyone’s fundamental right to access information. We look forward to sharing this important moment with our Turkish community on behalf of knowledge seekers everywhere.”