Trump’s Favorite New Dictator Just Cut Off Access To Wikipedia

The Turkish government has blocked access to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia. When people throughout the country try to access the site, all they will see is a swirly symbol until they see a message that the connection to the server has timed out. Turkey was recently subject to a failed coup attempt, and in the aftermath President Erdoğan used the incident to seize greater powers over the government, becoming a dictator. Trump praised this.

The official reason the Turkish government has given is that the site, “has started acting as part of the circles who carry out a smear campaign against Turkey in the international arena, rather than being cooperative in fight against terror.” This is according to a statement by Turkish ministry officials. There have been articles posted to Wikipedia that equate the Turkish government with various terror groups.

The Turkey Blocks organization that watches for these kinds of blocks announced the government actions against Wikipedia. Johnny Wales, the founder of Wikipedia took to Twitter to voice his objections. He posted, “Access to information is a fundamental human right. The Turkish people I will always stand with you to fight for this right.”

While other sites are working normally right now, the Turkish government has used its power to cut off access to other sites in the past. For example, it blocked access to YouTube for several months in 2014. This was in response to a video the site showed of a meeting in Syria on security. The year before that, the government shut off access to a variety of social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook due to bomb attacks or widespread protests.

Last November, limitations were placed on access to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and WhatsApp.

Some clever internet users have been able to get around the blocks by using VPNs. Increasingly, the government has been finding ways to keep these users from accessing banned sites.

The government admits that from “time to time for security reasons we can use such measures… These are temporary measures. Once the danger is passed, everything returns to normal.” This is according to Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.


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