A Turkish-language atheist web site has been rendered inaccessible to Turkish readers, due to a court order obtained by a leading Muslim creationist movement. I’ve received a plea for help, in the form of protests against Turkish institutions. The full text of the plea has also been posted on a blog page.
Here are some highlights:
Ateizm.org, the most prominent non-profit Turkish web site on atheism and religions was closed for the second time in December 2007, under orders from a Turkish court. Ateizm.org was established in 2000 by three young Turkish atheists who devoted themselves to the enlightenment of Turkish people. Ateizm.org hosts an online discussion board named Ateistforum (forum.ateizm.org), one of the busiest forums for the Turkish speaking online community over the Internet. Ateizm.org received 1000 visits a day at its peak when it was open. . . .
. . . If we hired a lawyer and challenged the court order, we probably would have won our case. But we do not want to disclose our identities. This is our biggest weakness. According to our lawyer, there is no way to take a legal action in Turkey and remain anonymous at the same time. Many Turkish intellectuals who were against Islam and outspoken about their views on religion were murdered by Islamic fundamentalists in the past. We do not want to risk our lives. . . .
The ban on ateizm.org in Turkey is yet another example of fundamentalist Islam gaining ground in a country survived as a secular democracy for well over half a century. Today secular forces in Turkey are struggling to protect democracy. Fundamentalist Islam aided by vast local and foreign financial resources is rapidly gaining ground. Therefore in Turkey, forces of “Secularism”, “Democracy” and “Freedom of Speech” need all the help they can get. . . .