Today, on Wikipedia’s 19th birthday, the Wikimedia Foundation has received reports that access to Wikipedia in Turkey is actively being restored.* This latest development follows a 26 December 2019 ruling by the Constitutional Court of Turkey that the more than two and a half year block imposed by the Turkish government was unconstitutional. Earlier today, the Turkish Constitutional Court made the full text of that ruling available to the public, and shortly after, we received reports that access was restored to Wikipedia.
We are thrilled that the people of Turkey will once again be able to participate in the largest global conversation about the culture and history of Turkey online and continue to make Wikipedia a vibrant source of information about Turkey and the world.
“We are thrilled to be reunited with the people of Turkey,” said Katherine Maher, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. “At Wikimedia we are committed to protecting everyone’s fundamental right to access information. We are excited to share this important moment with our Turkish contributor community on behalf of knowledge-seekers everywhere.”
We are actively reviewing the full text of the ruling by the Constitutional Court of Turkey. In the meantime, our case before the European Court of Human Rights is still being considered by the Court. We filed a petition in the European Court of Human Rights in spring of last year, and in July, the Court granted our case priority status. We will continue to advocate for strong protections for free expression online in Turkey and around the world.
Wikipedia is a global free knowledge resource written and edited by people around the world. Because of this open editing model, Wikipedia is also a resource everyone can be a part of actively shaping — adding knowledge about their culture, country, interests, studies, and more through Wikipedia’s articles.
Volunteers work together to write articles about many different topics ranging from history, pop culture, science, sports, and more using reliable sources to verify the facts. It is through this collective process of writing, discussion, and debate that Wikipedia becomes more neutral, more comprehensive, and more representative of the world’s knowledge.
More than 85 percent of the articles on Wikipedia are in languages other than English, which includes the Turkish Wikipedia’s more than 335,000 articles, written by Turkish-speaking volunteers for Turkish-speaking people.
In the time that the block was in effect, we heard from students, teachers, professionals and more in Turkey about how the block had impacted their daily lives. For many students, the block had occurred just days before their final exams. On social media, members of the international volunteer Wikipedia editor community and countless individuals shared messages of support with #WeMissTurkey and their desire to once again collaborate with the people of Turkey on Wikipedia.
With the decision today, our editors in Turkey will once again be able to fully participate in sharing and contributing to free knowledge online.
* We have received reports that several internet service providers in Turkey, depending on the location, have restored access to Wikipedia in Turkey, with some still in the process of restoring access. We will keep this statement updated as further access is restored.