Today, the Turkish Constitutional Court has held that the more than two and a half year access ban of Wikipedia in Turkey was unconstitutional. We hope that access will be restored in Turkey soon in the light of this new ruling from Turkey’s highest court and will update this statement if we receive notification that the block has been lifted. We join the people of Turkey, and the millions of readers and volunteers who rely on Wikipedia around the world, to welcome this important recognition for universal access to knowledge.
“Today’s decision from the Turkish Constitutional Court is an important step for the right to knowledge. The country’s highest court has taken a stand in favor of freedom of expression and access to information for the people of Turkey, setting a precedent for countries around the world. We hope access will be restored at the soonest in light of this decision,” said Katherine Maher, CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation. “At Wikimedia, we remain committed to ensuring everyone, everywhere has the right to freely access information.”
The legality of the access ban is currently being considered by the European Court of Human Rights. That case was brought in May 2019, and has been granted priority status by the Court, effectively expediting it. The Turkish Government is due to provide its written observations in the case in January.
A community of volunteers creates and maintains Wikipedia, guided by the belief that all knowledge should be freely accessible to everyone, everywhere. Thanks to their efforts, over its nearly 19-year history Wikipedia has become one of the world’s most popular and beloved websites. It is available in hundreds of languages, including the Turkish Wikipedia (Vikipedi) — written by Turkish speakers for Turkish speakers.
With this new ruling, we hope that the more than 80 million people of Turkey will once again have unrestricted access to all languages of Wikipedia. People of all ages and backgrounds — students, academics, professionals — should be able to easily access information on a wide range of topics, from abiogenesis to the Ottoman Empire to the Super League. And the people of Turkey should be a part of the biggest global conversation about the culture and history of Turkey, and all the world’s knowledge.
Looking ahead, we hope that Wikipedia will continue to be a valuable resource for the people of Turkey, and that Turkish Wikipedia, currently with more than 335,000 articles, will continue to grow and improve. We hope that more people in Turkey will edit Wikipedia and contribute to the collective effort to share knowledge with the world.
While today’s ruling from the Constitutional Court is a welcome development for free knowledge and the people of Turkey, there are other threats to our ability to continue to freely, openly, and collaboratively build the largest collection of knowledge in human history. Despite this, today is a good day for those of us that believe in the power of knowledge and dialogue. We are encouraged by this outcome and will continue to work towards a world in which knowledge is freely accessible to all.