Supreme in Turkey: Blocking access to Wikipedia violates freedom of expression
The Constitutional Court said the decision, which remains enforceable since 2017, is contrary to the Constitution. The ruling is supposed to be implemented immediately, but recently, lower courts have delayed Supreme Court rulings. The site was blocked following articles that violated "national security"
Supreme in Turkey: Blocking access to Wikipedia violates freedom of expressionPhoto: Reuters, Edit: Lear Spiegeler
Turkey's Constitutional Court on Thursday ruled that blocking access to the Wikipedia site, which has existed for more than two years, violates freedom of expression. The ruling paves the way for the site's blocking, which has been implemented since 2017 due to values that the government claims are linked to terrorist organizations. The official website of the Constitutional Court states that blocking the site "violated freedom of expression, which is enshrined in Article 26 of the Constitution."
The Wikipedia Foundation, the organization that hosts Wikipedia, has petitioned the Turkish Supreme Court to appeal the blockade. "One of the saddest things is this: We have expressed every possible means since the blocking began that the process is illegal," wrote Guntz Gurkink on Twitter, a lawyer representing Wikimedia. "Still, the issue was dragged on by petitions to the Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights and we had to fight on this issue for years."
According to Yaman Akadniz, a lawyer who petitioned the court as a Wikipedia user, the ruling was passed by a majority of ten judges against six.
Denies intervention in the justice system. Erdogan, yesterday (Photo: AP)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a speech to his party members, December 26, 2019 (Photo: AP)
Turkey blocked Wikipedia in April 2017 when the country's media regulatory body used a law that allowed it to prohibit access to sites that were considered blatant or threatened by national security. The Constitutional Court needs to send a letter to the regulatory body to have the obstruction removed.
Acadnez said similar rulings in the past were implemented within 24 hours. However, he said there have recently been cases where lower court courts have not immediately implemented the Constitutional Court's decisions, even though they have no right to do so. He added that the entries leading to Wikipedia darkness in Turkey will not be removed and remain available.
In recent years, a heated debate over the independence of the Turkish judiciary has been held, in light of claims that they are subject to the influence of politicians. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling party deny this, claiming that the judiciary makes its decisions independently.More in Walla! NEWS More in Walla! NEWS
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