Why bother with websites? Just ban atheism

Mar 10, 2015

By Ozgur Korkmaz

Article 24 of the Turkish Constitution states: “Everyone has the freedom of conscience, religious belief and conviction.”

In theory, the article covers the fundamental rights of each and every citizen. In reality, it gives no rights to atheists or non-believers, and very little to those who do not belong to the Sunni Muslim majority.

The latest proof of this fact is the ban on the website of the Atheism Association, Turkey’s first association dedicated to atheism founded less than a year ago. An Ankara court earlier this week banned access to the website, citing an article in the Turkish Penal Code that forbids “provoking the people for hate and enmity or degrading them.”

Although www.ateizmdernegi.org has been banned, a mirror of the website (I will not make the courts’ job easier by giving the open address) is still accessible and contains information about the association, its activities and contacts.

Article 216 of the penal code, on which the court based its decision, allows a ban on those who “openly provoke a group of people belonging to a different social class, religion, race, sect, or coming from another origin, to be rancorous or hostile against another group.”


Read the full article by clicking the name of the source located below.

42 comments on “Why bother with websites? Just ban atheism

  • “Article 216 of the penal code, on which the court based its decision, allows a ban on those who “openly provoke a group of people belonging to a different social class, religion, race, sect, or coming from another origin, to be rancorous or hostile against another group.”

    One does not provoke. One gets provoked if one can’t control oneself.



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  • Why bother with websites? Just ban atheism

    … . . and Xtianity and the “wrong” types of Islam, and all the other religions, so the ISIS Caliphate can rule the world morally in “peace and harmony”! – (allegedly)



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  • …allows a ban on those who “openly provoke a group of people belonging to a different social class, religion, race, sect, or coming from another origin, to be rancorous or hostile against another group.”
    so..like Muslims and Christians openly provoking and being hostile against atheists ? sounds fair !



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  • David Mar 10, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    so..like Muslims and Christians openly provoking and being hostile against atheists ? sounds fair !

    But you are not “interpreting the words correctly”! – because you don’t have the “right kind of faith-blinkers”!



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  • more islamophobia from atheists.

    nobody is persecuted in turkey for atheism. however, if the kind of thing that an atheist society in turkey wants to do a ‘draw mohammed day’, then it is obvious this is offensive.

    i think if atheists didn’t go out of their way to be islamophobic, then perhaps this website would not have been banned. anyhow, it is easily possible for turks to access this website.



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  • John Mar 10, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    more islamophobia from atheists.

    Nope! It is just an irrational response to criticism.

    nobody is persecuted in turkey for atheism. however, if the kind of thing that an atheist society in turkey wants to do a ‘draw mohammed day’, then it is obvious this is offensive.

    Just like the ancient statues and archaeological sites, which ISIS are destroying due to their backward fundamentalist psychotic nuttery about images!

    Officials confirmed militants begun destroying site of Hatra, northern Iraq – Comes after group went on a rampage in the 3,000-year-old city of Nimrud.
    Days earlier, jihadists targeted museum using sledgehammers and drills to destroy artefacts.

    i think if atheists didn’t go out of their way to be islamophobic,

    The suggestion that criticism of these deluded beliefs is “islamophobic” in the face of malicious destruction and murder over matters which are trivial, (If you don’t like the image look at something else!) is ironically comical childish tantrums!

    then perhaps this website would not have been banned. anyhow, it is easily possible for turks to access this website.

    Banning is just a response of the irrational – (promoted to positions way beyond their levels of competence), to information they don’t want to look at in case it undermines their silly beliefs! It is common in regimes promoting silly religious or political beliefs!

    “I don’t like it, and will throw tantrums about feeling offended”, does not impress in educated rational cultures, and is not acceptable behaviour from people much over the age of two!



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  • 10
    voiceofarabi says:

    I have visited Turkey and met lots of Turks… They are really nice people in general but have middle eastern mentality, a bit like the Italian’s in Sicily are Europeans, but they are nothing like the Germans (again.. in general) 🙂

    The problem here is… Turkey is ruled by the “Muslim Brotherhood”… Muslim Brotherhood charter have no place for anyone who is not a Muslim, and they are using the Majority peaceful Muslims in turkey to achieve their political goals, which is recreate the Ottoman Empire.

    The tragic side is.. The “Muslim Brotherhood” was created by British Empire in the early 1900’s to fight the “craziness” of Islam, and as such, it will always be used as a tool to destroy Islam from within.

    Just to compare… I have also visited Iran, and while I was there, I visited Zoroastrian temples, Churches, Mosques of both Sunni and Shia’a and Jewish synagogue, but no one hears about that…

    Bottom line… As long as Turkey government plays by the rule of the superpower of the day, United States of A, they will get away with anything including murder… Just look at Saudi Arabia as an example.. You can’t even have cinema theatre, let alone any form of free worship….



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  • Very complicated. I am totally in favour of banning hate speech, and of course hate actions, and the wording of the section in the Turkish constitution seems perfectly reasonable. In a country, in a region like that, sectarian and tribalism are immense social problems, and that particularly violent fly is all too easy to let out of the bottle and impossible to get back in. Any state has the right and duty to protect minorities and maintain civil order; communalism is perhaps the most destructive force in the world today and in some ways Turkey keeps a lid on it.

    But the other side of the coin is that it prevents Turkish society from coming to terms with its dark past, and the Kurds and Armenians, and I’m sure other sections of society, pay the penalty for that.

    It’s disingenuous to say that provocation is the fault of the victim; we wouldn’t say that about attacks on racial minorities, gays or women. The complacent answer of course is that you choose to be a Muslim or a Christian, but you don’t choose your gender, race or sexual identity. Well, most people in a poorly educated and repressive world don’t have much choice about their religious identity either, you try apostatising in the Middle East or even in some of the Christian communities in the West. The least penalty you’d pay is shunning from your loved ones and your community.

    So what’s the alternative? Keeping your mouth shut and going along with the main stream seems to be a recipe for an unhappy and morally conflicted life, and in the liberal West it’s easy to be brave and we know that what we say will most likely not have violent consequences for ourselves or society. But in other parts of the world, I’m not so sure what I’d do, or what would be my attitude to intellectual freedom.



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  • precisely

    any law stating you “must not provoke…” has been written solely to supress democracy. I get provoked at the slightest thing but if the police came round to arrest the apes every time i get fed late, eventually there’d be no one left to feed me.

    could we have a catch-all term for this type of law? I’m thinking “shh don’t wake the baby” covers it



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  • then it is obvious this is offensive

    As ever I must refer to my dear old Physics teacher Mrs G; “anyone who says ‘obvious’ doesn’t know what they’re talking about”

    it’s not obvious to me why someone drawing a picture would make someone else offended, far less is it obvious how a drawing of a character from a book is in any way an act of hate towards a real person while the real person responding in a violent manner is somehow to be excused. Clearly you and I grew up with a very different experience of the manifestation of hate.

    It is however evident that in a mob ruled society where political objectives are mediated through pavlovian conditioning, you only need enough alpha-males to insist their imaginary friend demands the death of people drawing pictures of a character who once imagined something to ensure the relifiously-primed, uneducated and uncivilized raving mob to go and cause real injury to a sentient being who was, by their own belief system, created by the same entity who seems incapable of fixing his own mistakes.

    islamophobia: an irrational fear of people who want you dead



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  • 15
    bsdetector says:

    Headline is misleading. The WEB site is operational, not shut down, but the access to it from within Turkey is being blocked. I can connect to it from US, for instance.



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  • From the source article:

    “A sub-clause of the article states ‘any person who openly disrespects the religious beliefs of a group is punished with six months to one year in prison if such an act causes potential risk for public peace’.”

    We wouldn’t want to risk public peace breaking out, now would we?



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  • I am totally in favour of banning hate speech

    There’s your error- right there; who defines “hate speech”? In muslim countries ANYTHING critical of Koran or Muhammad is “hate speech”.
    Precisely the ‘reasoning’ for attacking non-believers.strong text



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  • I am totally in favour of banning hate speech

    There’s your error- right there; who defines “hate speech”? In muslim countries ANYTHING critical of Koran or Muhammad is “hate speech”.
    Precisely the ‘reasoning’ for attacking non-believers.strong text



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  • The “Muslim Brotherhood” was created by British Empire in the early 1900’s to fight the “craziness” of Islam, and as such, it will always be used as a tool to destroy Islam from within.

    WHAT??

    Muslim Brotherhood (الإخوان المسلمون al-Ikhwān al-Muslimūn), is a transnational Islamist organization which was founded in Egypt in 1928 by the Islamic scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna.[1][2][3][4] The motto of the Brotherhood was traditionally “Believers are but Brothers”. That was expanded into a five-part slogan: “Allah is our objective; the Qur’an is the Constitution; the Prophet is our leader; jihad is our way; death for the sake of Allah is our wish.”[5]

    Exactly HOW will the Brotherhood be used to “destroy Islam from within”??
    This site encourages critical thinking- have you missed something?



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  • Blocked websites are easily accessed using a Virtual Private Network or VPN- which are available free, though paid VPN’s are possibly more secure and relatively inexpensive. Added to which email is usually encoded for security.



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  • Blocked websites are easily accessed using a Virtual Private Network or VPN- which are available free, though paid VPN’s are possibly more secure and relatively inexpensive. Added to which email is usually encoded for security.



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  • 25
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi JimJFox,

    This site encourages critical thinking- have you missed something?

    no, I have not missed anything. If you track “Muslim Brotherhood” and research how they started and who always gave them shelter, even when Arab regimes tried to killed them off, you will see “Great Britain” features a lot. (in fact, Hassan Al-Banna (Osama bin ladin of gone by days) was based in London for a while.

    Why they will destroy Islam… for the same reason why Extremist Christians or Jews will destroy Christianity or Judaism. They have no room for anyone who is not like them… they are Nazi’s under a different name….

    As far as critical thinking is concerned… why do you think the US of A are not too concerned to kill ISIS (they said it will take up to 10 years to destroy them— they invaded Iraq and Afghanistan in less the 3 months 🙂 ) —- the answer is… Groups like ISIS will implode once the dust settles…, so not a real issue… it is like fire, eventually it eats itself…..



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  • eejit covers the subject with thoughtful ambivalence and sensitivity to diverse environments where authorities must weigh the relative value of “free speech” against imminent provocations that threaten public security and personal safety. Simply put, we here in Richard Dawkins land are too quick to judge people living in societies pervaded with poverty, immersion in sectarian power struggles, and weak civil institutions. We can’t possibly understand what it’s like to live down the street from someone who will attack you physically for your religious beliefs, ethnic identity or political affiliation if a spark ignites conflict.

    By the way, don’t kid yourselves. RDF deploys filters which block content, identyfying key words or phrases that might offend groups thereby automatically deleting comments. Every forum operates the same way. We are fortunate to live in democratic societies with extensive free speech rights. Crowing about speech without boundaries, however, is absurd. Such a thing does not exist.



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  • Melvin, thanks so much for your kind posting. I think that what I am talking about is that pet hate of fundamentalist Christians, particularly RCs; usually called moral relativism. A complex subject, which I have never been able to unravel in spite of my (not very good) hons degree in philosophy.

    But even without training in the arcane musings of the ancient Greeks or St Augustine, it is quite obvious that people in different situations, different cultures and different times, cannot be held to the same ethical standards as ours. Clergy get their kicks by hammering out a hard moral line, it behoves us to be a little less strident in our attitude to other people’s values.



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  • I have nothing against Turks. I know quite a few of them.. But the state Turkey is making a turn for the worst with their president and his political party.. they are as undemocratic as one could wish for.. And I certainly do not see why Europe would want (or even need) Turkey as a member-state… they’re just one step away from forming their own kaliphate.. one small step for Turkey, a huge (mis)step for mankind



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  • we are not islamophobic.. we are god-o-fobic.. we don’t care for any god damned religion.. there’s a big difference.
    that being said, we let those god-believers go thier own way, we just don’t want their thoughts and devine rulings polute our laws.. and we are not hostile toward them.. not something we can expect back from all those religious idiots and bigots..



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  • I agree with you in most but the story is incomplete. I don’t like the leadership so my comments have no bias in that respect but…. The EU closed the door for a few reasons, one of which is unfair aims on Cyprus. Israel closed the door on gas supply. The ‘west’ closed the door on its promises in Iraq and the Kurdish problem. They closed the door on the ELECTED Muslim Brotherhood. You have to take that into consideration and wonder why Turkey then signs a deal with Russia on energy/gas. Even some of those that do not support the leadership have concerns on what the world wants for Turkey and who is stirring things up. An over reaction in some respects but understandable. I try to put myself in their position. Turkey is still teetering on the edge of good and bad so keeping the country in one piece is a good thing to support. Erdogan is trying to do it through religion so atheisim is in the firing line but with everything else in the fray I am not surprised.



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  • I have to say, and no disrespect to all here with their various expertise in their field, that there is a distinct lack of political analysts here and people are often commenting on political issues with no better knowledge than ANY layperson. Tying all this together with some professional comments would be a vast improvement to the site.



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  • Atheists are not islamophobic per se: They are stupidityphobic and that means ALl who believe they have to stuff their religion down the world’s throat, by any means possible. Nowadays this is mainly Islam, but don’t blame it on the West or the atheists, blame it on the Islam, which decided, a long while ago, that religion is a substitute for knowledge, which is not an intelligent alternative and the problem that cannot be solved by killing everyone of a different religion or no faith at all. So as long as you opt for being stupid you’ll stop existing, which is the way of all non intelligent life forms, since they cannot evolve. Start with Darwin theories and get an epiphany that will rock you wide awake.



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  • The site moderators review posts and make sure they stay within the TOS. That’s not the same thing as automatic filtering. My experience here is that they permit a diverse range of opinion. As long as you’re not actually trying to convert people you can say pretty much anything



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  • I agree voiceofarabi.

    IS is creating more enemies every day, and I think that if they can be contained, sooner or later they will start infighting and self destruct.

    It’s a family fight which has to be dealt with by Muslims; if outsiders try to intervene it will simply compound the situation.

    The Balfour Declaration, Sykes Picot Agreement, and all the other meddling in the area has already done quite enough damage.

    However, the root cause of the trouble is Islam, so I wouldn’t go as far as to say that IS not an issue.



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  • hope there is more of this kind of attitude coming out in the open, because astonishingly, as a group, the atheists make up about 1/3 of the world population, making us the largest single “religion” in the world. Our problem, or luck, is that we are not blind, stupid zealots lakie the creationist, the American Taliban, the Taliban, the fundamentalist Islam and the rest of the one-cell-brained that have yet to discover that there is more than “the one book”. It must be bloody dark in their brains, but albeit, it is our fault, despite illuminism and humanism, that we have allowed them to spread like this. Thank you politicians!



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  • According to another more recent video on YouTube, tourism in Turkey went down by 90% on the release of that film Stafford. I understand there always has to be a villain in film land but to have that much effect surely should have seen a lawsuit.



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  • 41
    Light Wave says:

    Ban atheism …yeah that’ll work …like prohibition….you cant ban something that comes naturally to people…..you can try to ban truth …but it always seems to leak out ….



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  • Let’s face it, anything that is counterproductive to any religious sect’s cause is deemed provocation enough. Countries where Muslims are the majority in the ruling body are especially heinous in their actions against non-believers.



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