Dec 26, 2019

High court rules Turkey's ban on Wikipedia is unconstitutional

Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

A high court in Turkey ruled Thursday that the government's 2017 ban on Wikipedia is unconstitutional, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan cracked down on freedom of expression in the wake of a failed 2016 coup, banning Wikipedia after the site refused to remove pages that the Turkish government found offensive. Advocates argued that the ban limited access to information and was a violation of free speech, while the government claimed that content on Wikipedia threatened national security.

The Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia, said in a statement:

We hope that access will be restored in Turkey soon in the light of this new ruling from Turkey’s highest court and will update this statement if we receive 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.

Of note: The Turkish Constitutional Court previously ruled in 2014 that similar bans on YouTube and Twitter were also violations of freedom of expression.

Go deeper: Internet freedom crumbles as social media becomes tool for autocrats

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Wikipedia returns to Turkey after lengthy government ban

Erdogan takes a break from updating his Wikipedia profile to catch some wrestling. Photo: Yasin Bulbul/Turkish Presidency Press Office/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Wikipedia is returning to Turkey after the country's supreme court ruled that banning it violated freedom of expression.

The big picture: President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's government has a long history of blocking information it doesn't like. It has jailed dozens of journalists, and in this case, it went so far as to block one of the world's most-visited sites for nearly three years.

Go deeperArrowJan 16, 2020

Turkey's parliament votes to send troops to Libya

Photo: Turkish Presidency/Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Turkey's parliament has voted to deploy troops to Libya in support of the UN-recognized government, deepening its role in a proxy war that's also pulled in Russia and other regional powers, Bloomberg reports.

The state of play: Turkey is supporting efforts by Libya's UN-recognized government to block an offensive on the capital, Tripoli, by rebel commander Khalifa Haftar. Haftar is backed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and mercenaries from Russia's Wagner Group.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 2, 2020

Erdoğan's gamble in Libya could hinge on Putin's reaction

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (R) with Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. Photo: Murat Kula/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Turkey’s parliament on Thursday authorized President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to deploy troops to Libya, adding a new dimension to a proxy war that features foreign drones and Russian mercenaries.

The state of play: Libya has been plagued by war and instability since the overthrow of dictator Muammar Ghaddafi in 2011.

Go deeperArrowJan 3, 2020