10 Years ago - Atheist Association Makes First Demands

10 Years ago - Atheist Association Makes First Demands

A few weeks ago, we reported in an article about the founding of the first atheist association in Istanbul. In the meantime, a broader public has become aware of the association, especially since Tolga Inci, co-founder and chairman of the first "Ateizm Dernegi" in Turkey, has also addressed the press directly several times.

Inci expressly emphasizes in the announcements that he has no intention of dissuading believing fellow citizens from Islam. Its sole aim is to protect the rights of the non-Muslim population as well.

Türkiye a secular republic?

atheisten religion 2The statistics of predominantly Muslim Turkey are only too happy to assume that 99 percent of the population is Muslim, from which one could conclude that only 1% of the population is a non-believer. Numbers that don't really say anything, especially since Sunnis and Alevis (about 20% of the population) are lumped together here. Further surveys clearly show how important the association's work is: every second Turkish citizen does not want a "godless" neighbour. It is therefore not surprising that Ateizm Dernegi had to experience a large number of threats and insults.

A recently passed law expressly prohibits discrimination in the workplace or when choosing an apartment on the basis of religious or ideological beliefs. After all, the constitution says that Turkey is a secular republic. But those who profess atheism, possibly also publicly, often have to cope with major problems in everyday life. The pressure also and especially comes from politics. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, himself a devout Muslim, recently insulted the participants in anti-government demonstrations as "atheists and terrorists".

After death, the curtain falls

atheisten religion 1So, it's not surprising if you follow the controversial, but sometimes also irrelevant discussions on the website of the association, when God and the world is discussed. Thank God it's finally being discussed. "After death the curtain falls," wrote one atheist. A Muslim participant in the forum countered: “Let's assume you are right. Then after death we would all be in the same position. Our prayers to Allah and our offerings to the poor would not harm us. But have you ever thought about what will happen to you if there is a God and we are right?”

In addition to the daily problems, the association also wants to fight for more far-reaching laws for atheists. There are hardly any cemeteries in Turkey that also accept atheists. Incidentally, this also applies to Christians, who are often still counted among the unbelievers from the perspective of Muslims, despite all the parallels in the Bible and the Koran. "We must have the right to choose what happens to our bodies after we die," argues Inci. And since cremation is forbidden in Islam, one of the demands concerns the construction of the first crematorium on Turkish soil.

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