Turkey Blocks All Versions of Wikipedia

April 30, 2017, 4:46 PM UTC

The censorship monitoring site Turkey Blocks on Saturday morning reported that all editions of Wikipedia had been blocked for internet users in Turkey. Turkish telecommunications authorities have since stated that the block was imposed under a law that allows filtering for national security and public safety purposes.

The block was imposed just hours before Turkish authorities fired more than 3,900 public employees, police and military officials in what was described as a purge of opponents to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regime.

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Turkey has previously imposed blocks or restrictions on access to Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype, Instagram, and YouTube in conjunction with moves against Erdogan’s opponents.

In comments to Bloomberg, a member of the Turkish opposition party CHP said the Wikipedia block shows that “the government can’t get enough of censorship.” At one point last year, as many as 100,000 websites were blacklisted in Turkey.

Internet censorship is a major part of Erdogan’s efforts in recent years to consolidate power along what have been described as authoritarian lines. Those efforts intensified following a failed coup attempt in July of last year.

Simultaneous with the Wikipedia block, Turkish officials imposed a ban on television dating shows, which were said to be incompatible with Turkish culture and traditions.