ISTANBUL - Turkish authorities Saturday blocked access to online encyclopedia Wikipedia, an internet monitoring group said, the latest in what government critics say is a crackdown on free speech on the internet.
A block on all language editions of the Wikipedia website was detected at 8 a.m. (0500 GMT) Saturday, monitoring group Turkey Blocks said on its website.
“The loss of availability is consistent with internet filters used to censor content in the country,” it said.
When attempting to access the webpage using Turkish internet providers, users received a notice the site could not be reached and a “connection timed out” error.
Monitoring groups have accused Turkey of blocking access to social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook, particularly in the aftermath of militant attacks.
The government has in the past denied that it blocks the internet, blaming outages on spikes in usage after major events.
There is no official statement on why the site has been blocked but Turkish media is reporting the cause as “terror-related content.”
Daily Hurriyet newspaper said Turkey has been in communication with Wikipedia for the removal of content supporting terror and presenting Turkey as a “supporter of terror.”
NTV reported that Turkey demanded Wikipedia to open an office in the country, act in line with international law and abide by court decisions and “not be part of the blackout operation against Turkey.”
If these demands are met and the content removed, the site would be reopened, according to Turkish media.
When attempting to access the site without the use of a virtual private network (VPN), connections time out and browsers alert “this site can’t be reached.”