The high court of Turkey has ruled that the government’s two-year-old ban on Wikipedia is unconstitutional.
Following a 10-6 vote in favor of the multilingual online encyclopedia, the constitutional court ordered that the ban shall immediately be lifted adding that it has violated the right to freedom of expression.
The Turkish government blocked access to Wikipedia in 2017 due to the website’s entries citing the government officials’ involvement in oil trading with Islamic State and cooperation with terrorist organizations like Isis.
Wikipedia was regarded as a part of a smear campaign against Turkey after it refused to remove the said critical contents. Online suppression is a persistent issue in the country especially during the height of protests and terrorist attacks.
In May 2017, non- profit organization Wikimedia Foundation which hosts the site, has petitioned the highest court to challenge the access block.
Although it is not yet clear when access to Wikipedia will be restored in the country, the site’s founder Jimmy Wales already celebrated through a tweet that read “Welcome back, Turkey!” along with his photo taken during his recent trip to Istanbul.
The Turkish government has yet to comment on the ruling.
To date, more than 100,000 websites and 95, 000 web pages have been banned and temporarily blocked in Turkey. The Human Rights Watch said that the country is also the second leading world jailer of media practitioners.