More Blasphemy Charges in Turkey

An English-language Turkish news site is reporting that more than three dozen people have been charged with blasphemy in that country for posting allegedly offensive things about religion to a social media site that is popular with the Turkish people.

Prosecutors submitted an indictment to Anadolu 30th Peace Court, charging Sedat Kapanoğlu and 40 account holders with the “blasphemy on the religious values of a society fraction” due to their entries on Ekşisözlük, a popular social media website in Turkey. Site owner Kapanoğlu and other users are facing prison sentences from 6 up to 12 months.

“I don’t want to make an extensive comment on the prosecution as it has yet to begin,”Ekşisözlük lawyer Başak Purut told bianet…

“Turkish Penal Code Article 216/3 serves the judicial purpose of protecting the sentiments of those who believe in God, religion, prophets, holy writings and sects. Individuals may certainly express their opinions and criticize certain aspects. However, they must do this while not hurting other people’s religious sentiments. Therefore, nobody has the right to damage the respect of others towards their sacred concepts.”

That’s downright Orwellian language. You can express your views as long as they don’t bother anyone else.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • http://www.thelosersleague.com theschwa

    You can express your views all you want* ** *** ****.

    *At home.

    **In the closet.

    ***Alone.

    ****In a whisper.

  • Artor

    “Therefore, nobody has the right to damage the respect of others towards their sacred concepts”

    Hmm… I consider the right of free expression to be sacred, and blasphemy laws are pretty damned offensive to me. Off with their heads!

  • http://changerofbits.blogspot.com/ changerofbits

    http://atheistcensus.com/. Turkey is #4 there, which I think is a reflection of their society being like the US in terms of Tayip being like Bush. It will be sad if they turn their Ataturk obsession into Allah obsession.

  • machintelligence

    What do they do when one man’s orthodoxy is another man’s blasphemy? Are both charged?

  • Pierce R. Butler

    … facing prison sentences from 6 up to 12 months.

    Has anyone checked to see whether persons sentenced to Turkish prisons for blasphemy survive as long as 6-12 months?

  • No One

    Incredible…. “Wah! You hurt my feelings” as law.

  • http://riffingreligion.wordpress.com/ Wes

    That’s downright Orwellian language. You can express your views as long as they don’t bother anyone else.

    A better way to phrase it might be, “You are free to express yourself, so long as you don’t upset authorities.” I’d bet money that there are plenty of minority religions that one could offend in Turkey without any fear of retribution, because they don’t have any influence in government. Blasphemy laws only protect the powerful.

  • iangould

    “Blasphemy laws only protect the powerful.”

    Demonstrably false.