Wikipedia blackout
Wikipedia blackoutiStock

Turkish Transportation Minister Ahmet Arslan said a ban on online encyclopedia Wikipedia will remain in place in Turkey as long as it does not remove content showing Turkish support for ISIS, reports the Turkish Minute. Turkey blocked access to Wikipedia in April 2017.

“As long as it [Wikipedia] shows Turkey, which has rendered more than 3,000 terrorists ineffective, as a supporter of DAESH (ISIS), it will not be allowed to operate in Turkey,” said the minister in a statement on Friday.

The Ankara 1st Criminal Court of Peace ordered a ban on the website after Wikipedia reportedly refused to remove two English-language pages that claimed Ankara supported jihadists in Syria, said TM.

Wikipedia, while noting that "Turkey faced one of the highest number of ISIL (ISIS) attacks among European countries," and that "Turkey claims to have been the first country which designated ISIL as a terrorist organization," it does note that "Turkey has faced numerous allegations of collaboration with and support for ISIL in international media."

The online encyclopedia says that "Turkish opposition commentators and politicians in September 2014 again accused their government of implicitly supporting and funding ISIL, pointing to Turkey's decision to not allow the United States Air Force to use the highly strategic İncirlik Air Base for their military intervention against ISIL."

Wikipedia quotes an April 2018 article published by Foreign Policy stating that in 2013 alone, some 30,000 militants traversed Turkish soil, establishing the so-called jihadi highway, as the country became a conduit for fighters seeking to join the Islamic State. "Furthermore," says Wikipedia, "it was claimed that wounded Islamic State militants were treated for free at hospitals across southeastern Turkey. Among those receiving care was one of the top deputies of Islamic State chieftain Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Ahmet el-H, who was treated in a private hospital in Sanliurfa in August 2014."