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Wikipedia takes Turkey to court over two-year ban

The site says the country's blocking of Wikipedia violates freedom of expression.

Wikipedia wants to lift Turkey's ban on the site.
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Wikipedia is petitioning a human rights court over Turkey's two-year ban of its site. 

The Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that hosts Wikipedia, said Thursday that it's asked the European Court of Human Rights to lift Turkey's ban. The Wikimedia Foundation says it's doing this to promote "knowledge and freedom of expression as fundamental rights for every person."

The Turkish government banned Wikipedia in April 2017 as part of a crackdown on dissent. 

The Wikimedia Foundation said it had previously tried to lift the block by taking legal action in Turkish courts, having conversations with Turkish authorities and launching campaigns to raise awareness about the block's global impact but that those attempts weren't successful. 

"Wikipedia is a global resource that everyone can be actively part of shaping," the Wikimedia Foundation's executive director, Katherine Maher, said in a statement. "It is through this collective process of writing and rewriting, and debate, that Wikipedia becomes more useful, more comprehensive, and more representative."

The foundation argues that banning Wikipedia "violates fundamental freedoms, including the right to freedom of expression." 

Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales also tweeted about the petition, saying: "Sad that it has come to this. Knowledge is a fundamental human right though, so we will keep pressing forward until we prevail."