DoctorE

Turtles all the way down

Uneasy neighbors in Turkey: atheism and Islam

Posted by doctore0 on May 27, 2015


The latest polls show that Turkey’s President and former Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan may have to form a coalition government following the June 7 elections. In its unlucky 13th year in rule, Erdogan’s AKP has suffered several image attacks in recent months, triggering defections among erstwhile supporters to other parties, especially within Turkey’s minorities.

Among his opponents, a newly-formed group of “Istanbullu” – those born and raised in Istanbul – has grown steadily over the past year and now numbers around 150 individuals across Turkey. Without a party-political agenda, the country’s first official atheism league, Ateizm Dernegi, says that it wants to create a platform for like-minded people amid the AKP-driven climate of political Islam.

“Being an atheist in Turkey is not exactly a desirable label. We few are wearing it proudly and we refuse to be silenced by the fear and threats,” Morgan Romano, vice-president of the association, said at the group’s first public conference in Germany on Sunday.

“The term ‘atheist’ is used as a harsh insult – one of the harshest in the country. Furthermore, atheists are commonly and publicly discriminated against and are subjects of public and private hate speech in Yeni Turkiye all the time.”

Morgan Romano says that atheists in Turkey suffer from persecution and discrimination

Romano repeatedly referred to present-day Turkey as ‘yeni Turkiye’ – the ‘new Turkey’, and its “booming Islamism growing at a rate unlike any other nation”. Born and raised in the US, Romano described how she considered herself part of the old Turkey before the AKP’s rise to power.
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