The Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) said an Ankara court ordered Saturday that a “protection measure” related to suspected internet crimes be applied to Wikipedia.
Such measures are used to block access to pages or entire websites to protect “national security and public order.”
The block on Wikipedia was detected at about 8 am (0500 GMT) on Saturday, the Turkey Blocks monitoring group said.
Turkish media said Wikipedia had been asked to remove content by certain writers whom the authorities accuse of “supporting terror” and of linking Turkey to terror groups.
A formal court order backing up the provisional order is expected in the coming days.
Responding to the ban, Wikipedia’s founder Jimmy Wales tweeted: “Access to information is a fundamental human right. Turkish people, I will always stand with you to fight for this right.”
Turkey has a long history of internet censorship, including three earlier blockages in 2016 including Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Whatsapp.Turkey’s status is listed as “not free” on the 2016 Freedom on the Net index by independent rights watchdog Freedom House. It says over 111,000 websites were blocked as of May last year.
In 2007, Turkey passed an internet censorship law that allows the government to ban or block websites. The law was putatively aimed at child abuse images, but internet freedom activists point out that the controls have been used in moments of political unrest or to censor political speech.
Turkey on Saturday fired almost 4,000 public officials and imposed a ban on TV dating shows.
More than 1,000 people and 9,100 police, the air force included over 100 pilots and almost 500 academics working for state institutions were also dismissed in a vast new crackdown against alleged supporters of the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen or on suspicion of ties to terrorist groups.
Turkey, last year, jailed 81 journalists, making it the world’s top jailer of journalists, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.