10 years ago - First "Atheism Club" in Türkiye founded


An atheist is someone who doesn't believe in God. He's not necessarily someone who believes there is no God. However, according to a common misconception, an atheist is someone who believes that there is no God.

This attitude is known in science as strong atheism - it is held quite rarely. A position simply lacking in belief in God is called weak atheism. Last weekend, Turkish atheists in Istanbul went public and announced the founding of their "Initiative Atheism Association". A small group of atheists became a registered association:

"As a result of our long efforts, our merger was confirmed and the association was officially founded. Now no atheist will be left to their own devices in court or on the street. We look forward to welcoming you to our club headquarters in Kadikoy for tea drinking or wine snails." , it said in a first statement.

Why is the establishment of such an association in Turkey so important? Not so long ago, professing atheists like Sevan Sisanyan and Fazil Say were confronted with sometimes memorable trials due to some questionable articles of Turkish penal law. When applying for personal documents such as an ID card and passport, "Islam" is automatically entered as the religious affiliation. Without any questioning as to whether the person concerned is a believer at all or wants to belong to this religious community.

Tolga Inci and Ahmet Balyemez, who set the foundation of the association in motion, spoke to Özgür Caglar of AGOS (Turkey's first Turkish-Armenian weekly) in March. They summarized this encounter as follows:

Saying "I'm an atheist" in Turkey is almost an insult to religion. Some of the prime minister's choice of words, such as 'an atheist is a terrorist', are now part of everyday life in Turkey. It is now time for us atheists to say "We are here too!". As a group of atheists, we first came together through the internet. We figured that when someone gets into trouble as an atheist, there should be a physical door that he/she can knock on for legal help.

Atheists are often called godless

We started with our motto "Neither in court nor on the street should an atheist feel alone". (...) If we look at the court proceedings against atheists, then we see the reality! (...) We do not belong to any ideology. Because we don't want to approach atheism with an ideology, but scientifically."

Atheists are often called godless, usually with the accusation that an atheist also has no morals. But this is completely wrong - an attitude in which morality is rejected is called nihilism. Or as amoralism. An atheist may or may not be a nihilist or an amoralist. Most atheists also follow a moral code, except that an atheist does not invoke God to justify his moral code.

Why shouldn't one believe that a god exists? Most theists find it perfectly legitimate to believe that Zeus or Thor or Odin (or any of the few thousand other gods of belief from the past) don't exist. How do they get there? If it weren't right, non-existence To believe in a god, then neither should the theist deny (dispute) the existence of Zeus and other gods. But theists do so in general, and Christians or Muslims in particular. They are strong atheists about other gods, at least believe them They do not believe in other gods. They consider their disbelief to be their natural right or justification. You have to agree with them. But it also means that everyone has the right not to make an exception for any god, rather than for a specific one to have to.

'Anyone who cannot think rationally is a fool. Anyone who does not want to think rationally is a bigot. Anyone who doesn't dare to think rationally is a slave.«

Andrew Carnegie once coined this sentence. A little-known but so apt saying of a man who, as the son of a weaver, moved abroad, became wealthy and spent his fortune on the needy and on educational projects, believing that money should help those who were need it. A prime example of a religious, human existence, far away from greed and use of power privileges to line one's own pockets.

Contact details:

Ateizm Dernegi
Osmanağa Mahallesi, Çuhadarağa Sokak,
Galerium İş Merkezi, No:23/40, Cat:1,
Kadıköy / İSTANBUL

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Doğan Akhanlı and the indivisibility of human rights


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