In Turkey, a government-imposed block in place since April 2017 has meant that 80 million people can no longer access or participate in free knowledge, while the rest of the world is left without the opportunity to learn from, share, and understand the perspectives of the people of Turkey on Wikipedia.

This block prevents access to Wikipedia across all languages, and is the most extensive block imposed in Wikipedia’s history. In the months following the block, traffic to Wikipedia in Turkey dropped by more than 90 percent.

An entire nation suddenly went silent on Wikipedia.

Last month, we asked the world to express what this block has meant to them on social media using the hashtag #WeMissTurkey. These were some of the messages they shared:

Turkey’s block of @wikipedia is the world’s loss, as we all lose out on Turkish contributions to our common knowledge and humanity. But of course it is felt most in Turkey. #WeMissTurkey

We from Holland also miss sharing knowledge with Turkey and learning from Turkey. We hope the government of Turkey will soon restore access to #Wikipedia in Turkey #WeMissTurkey

We miss you too! @wikipedia

One of my favorite places to visit is Istanbul.  I want to come back and celebrate the reopening of access to Wikipedia in Turkey.  Tell everyone: #WeMissTurkey @wikipedia

Wikipedia está bloqueada desde hace 10 meses en Turquía. Esta semana, @Wikimedia estará lanzando la campaña #WeMissTurkey para concientizar sobre el bloqueo, compartiendo información sobre cultura turca y visibilizando a la comunidad que resiste allí #TürkiyeyiÖzledik

#iloveWikipedia & #imissWikipedia as much as they miss us 🙂 #WeMissTurkey

Türkiye’de dünyanın Özgür Ansiklopedisi @Wikipedia ya erişim10 aydır kapalı. Dünyanın bilgisine erişemiyor, Türkçe katkı veremiyoruz. @Wikimedia #WeMissTurkey #TürkiyeyiÖzledik etiketi ile herkesi ses çıkarmaya davet ediyor. Lütfen siz de katılın.

Over a single week, we reached more than 15 million people with our messages about the block, and nearly 200,000 people, including more than 47,000 in Turkey, responded. Turkish artists created artwork visualizing the knowledge we have lost because of the block, works that were shared more than 3,500 times. And in Berlin, the global Wikimedia community of volunteer editors who write, edit, and improve Wikipedia came together to commemorate the impact of a Wikipedia without Turkey. In the video above, their voices can be heard reading the Wikipedia article about Turkey in their own language and expressing the shared loss this block has imposed on our global community.

This is much more than the block of a website. It is denying access to the largest, collaboratively-built collection of free knowledge built in human history. Without participation from the whole world, Wikipedia suffers.

At the Wikimedia Foundation, we believe knowledge is a fundamental human right. We will continue to fight for the principles that sustain free knowledge, global discourse, and open collaboration across borders, languages, and experiences.

We remain committed to restoring access to Wikipedia in its entirety in Turkey and protecting free knowledge globally.

Join us in asking Turkey to come back to be be part of the collection of the world’s free knowledge. Share our video and let the world know that #WeMissTurkey.

To read more about the Wikimedia Foundation’s efforts in Turkey to date, please see our previous statements from April 2017 and March 2018.

Samantha Lien, Communications Manager
Wikimedia Foundation

Video by Victor Grigas/Wikimedia Foundation, CC BY-SA 3.0. You can view it on Wikimedia Commons, which complies with the Wikimedia privacy policy, or on Vimeo, YouTubeTwitter, or Facebook.

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Photo credits

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University Yachay Tech

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Jess Wade

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