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Turkey Upholds Wikipedia Ban

Members of the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS) carry placards reading 'Enough!' during a demonstration to mark World Press Freedom Day in central Istanbul, Turkey, May 3, 2017.

A Turkish court on Friday rejected an appeal filed by Wikipedia after Turkey banned access to the website last week.

Turkish authorities said the website was "acting with groups conducting a smear campaign against Turkey" after Wikipedia refused to remove a page accusing the country of collaborating with jihadists in Syria.

Free speech advocates in Turkey blasted the ban and said Turkey is forbidding access to websites and social media at an increasing rate. They question the move to ban the entire Wikipedia website, in all languages, when Turkey's objections only pertains to two pages on the English-language version.

The head of Turkey's Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK), Omer Fatih Sayan, said earlier this week the ban would only be removed if the offending pages are taken down.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said on Twitter he thinks "access to information is a fundamental human right," and vowed to stand with the Turkish people to "fight for this right."

Wales also was removed from the guest list for the World Cities Expo, a major international conference, in Istanbul later this month.