Turkey has blocked all access inside the country to the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia.
The Turkey Blocks group, which has dubbed itself an independent ‘digital transparency project’, said users in the country have been unable to access the site since yesterday morning.
No reason has been given by its government as to why it was done, the BBC reports.
However, Turkey’s Information and Communication Technologies Authority has since been quoted as saying:
After technical analysis and legal consideration based on the Law Nr. 5651 [governing the internet], an administrative measure has been taken for this website.
The provisional order would need to be backed by a full court ruling in the next few days.
There has yet been an official statement from the Turkish government on the situation, but the media is reporting that it’s because the site presents Turkey as a ‘supporter of terror’.
Critics are claiming that this is just yet another attack on its citizens basic freedoms and repressing free speech, in the crackdown that followed last year’s failed coup.
Some users are even suggesting that it may be in a bid to stop criticism on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Wikipedia page, after he narrowly won a controversial referendum on increasing his powers.
When attempting to access the site Turkish citizens’ connections time out and were greeted with a browser alert saying ‘site can’t be reached’.
This isn’t the first time Turkish authorities have blocked certain websites, with the likes of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube suffering this fate on multiple occasions- usually in the wake of mass protests or terror attacks.
However, the government has repeatedly denied censoring its internet, instead blaming it simply on spikes in usage after major events.