Turkey may charge Dawkins' publisher for "insulting believers"

The Independent reports that prosecutors in Turkey may charge the Turkish publisher of Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion with the crime of "insulting believers." He could get up to a year in prison.
Richard Dawkins' best-selling atheist manifesto The God Delusion was at the centre of a growing row over religious tolerance yesterday after the Turkish publishers of his book were threatened with legal action by prosecutors who accuse it of 'insulting believers'.

Erol Karaaslan, the founder of the small publishing house Kuzey Publications, could face between six months and a year in jail for "inciting hatred and enmity" if Istanbul prosecutors decide to press charges over the book, which has sold 6000 copies in Turkey since it was published this summer.

Link (Via TDG)


  1. Oh Man…I bet the fundies in the US are soooooooo jealous they couldn’t get away with this kind of crap in America.

  2. they will see! like tipper saw when she went after 2livecrew. By attacking marginal groups you can turn them into best sellers.

    That would be great since The God Delusion is a must read.

  3. Turkey will be kept out of the EU because of racism and religious bigotry. In addition to the fact that they would become the second largest member of the EU parliament and the French cant have that.

  4. I haven’t read it, nor visited Turkey, but I can tell which one is stupid by their immoral use of force outside of self-defense.

  5. I am actually somewhat surprised that a publisher would even attempt to print this particular tome in that environment. Did he not see the writing on the wall?

    @1: I honestly believe that if those folk had their way, there would be televised hangings of vocal atheists at least once a week. Probably on Sunday.

    @4: to be fair, IMO the biggest thing which will keep Turkey out of the EU is a bad case of regional Islamophobia, although this will certainly not help the situation.

  6. “That would be great since The God Delusion is a must read.”

    It’s good but dawkins can be a jerk when it comes to stuff like that, hitchens lacks finesse as well. Its hard because that stuff pisses you off so easily. its hard not to rant.

    I think the best author to handle the issue firmly, but without being too comabative is Sam Harris.

  7. I don’t think it’s impossible for Dawkins to be a jerk, but I can’t say I can remember a particular quote or action of his that would qualify as such. He’s a very nice guy in person as well (Hitchens doesn’t have that reputation).

    In any case, I would recommend that anyone who’s read Dawkins’s specifically anti-religious works also check out his science writing. He has a marvelous style and a sharp mind. Harris and Hitchens lack in that department, actually contributing to the fuel behind their fire – a rational, scientific view of the world.

  8. its should come as no surprise but part of what i love about Dawkins is that he takes no $h!t. therefore is often thought of as a prick.

    the End of Faith was great. Yet the last 2 time i have seen Sam Harris if he had been any more combative he would have caught a case.

  9. Any bets that all 6000 of the books were bought by religious extremists looking to either:

    a) burn it
    b) read it and get outraged

  10. I’d take that bet, Moon. Turkey is actually quite a secular country, compared to the stereotype of Muslim countries you have in mind. I’m sure there are more than a few free thinkers in the country.

  11. Heh, when I saw the headline of this post, I thought it meant “Turkey” as in “Some turkey”. Looks like I was only half-wrong!

  12. Dawkins is an ass. If you can’t see that… Well… He’s just a prick. And he doesn’t even get religion. He simply doesn’t understand it. His arguments are totally pointless in the face of a believer, because believers believe that these things are outside of human conception, and that all these things Dawkins talks about–probabilities, history, science–are human concepts and therefore have no real bearing on the argument. And they are human concepts, developed by humans, filtered through humans’ sensory organs and processed by human gray matter. ‘Course, so are gods and imps and fairies, but that is the central difference of opinion that renders any further discussion moot.

    It’s easy to go after fundamentalists, because they are dumb enough to try to apply their supernatural concepts to the natural world, thereby cheapening both, but most believers are rational people who find some meaning or joy in their delu… I mean beliefs without doing things like trying to ban the teaching of science in schools and replace it with ancient literature.

    Watch Dawkins’ “The Root of All Evil” (not his idea for the title) to see the guy be a complete ass, over and over again. Ted Haggard is indeed a lunatic and a hypocrite (although we didn’t know that when the film was made), but you don’t walk up to a guy who has just led like 1,000 people in a totally peaceful, ecstatic, joyful, revelatory celebration of their made-up god and go, “It reminded me a bit of the Nuremberg rallies.” –And then he wondered why Haggard got pissed off and threw him out at the end of the interview.

    Hell, in Haggard’s defense, I thought he handled the situation very professionally for a long time. When the “interview” started out that way, I would have said, “Okaaay! Time’s up. Enjoy your time in Colorado. I’ve got things to do.”

    Dawkins is just another kind of fundamentalist. “Taking no shit” is exactly why we don’t like Christian and Muslim fundamentalists. It’s not a virtue. It’s a vice. And in the case of Dawkins, I think it’s a pretty serious character flaw.

  13. It’s possible to see something like that in my country, if there is an assault to the dogmatic values.

    But it’s also funny since there is another book published in Turkey about this stuff, Jean Meslier‘s LE BON SENS, which is translated to Turkish like “Common Sense : Guide to Godlessness”. The funny side is, the book was translated to Turkish in 1928 by the special request of the founder of The Turkish Republic Atatürk.

    The book, which has personal notes of Atatürk himself on them, is in the Presidency Library of Turkiye.

    I have no idea about this book, but there is two possibilities in this situation;

    Either the book is really aggressive, or we are started to getting screwed by our own government. (which got %42 vote on the previous elections)

    [I would want if it was the first one, but i think it’s the latter, since the new government’s root is coming from a fundamentalist base]

  14. Dawkins is a third rate philosopher and theologian. He should stick to studying mollusc’s and other invertebrates as he does little to intelligently advance the case for atheism.

    That being said, my main point is to question whether Dawkins himself would have the guts to go to Turkey and testify to help those who have worked to make money for him.

    Chomsky went to Turkey at least twice, once in the 90s and most recently in 2002, to testify on behalf of those who were censured for publishing his works in Turkish. His presence in both instances resulted in acquittal. Lets hope Dawkins can take a few moments from railing against American fundamentalists to leave Oxford and go defends his views when they are actually under attack.

    Links about Chomsky visiting in 2002 to aid his publishers:


  15. I’m not a huge fan of Dawkins, but I must disagree with the idea that Sam Harris is a better spokesperson for free thinking than any of the others in the popular media. A few months back I saw Harris manage to turn a very friendly auditorium at UCLA against himself in a debate where his argument boiled down to a particularly vehement form of imperialist racism.

    In the larger scheme of things, though, mostly the current crop of pop-sci atheism comes across to me as just so many attempts to rephrase Bertrand Russell for profit. Russell managed to be both entertaining and extremely thought-provoking–and accessible on many different levels. The current group, however, appeals to people who don’t have a thorough background in philosophy, and who were probably looking for some sort of authoritarian validation for the budding atheism which was in them already but which had not yet found expression. There is a sense of that need for belonging in this brand of atheism which is (not-surprisingly) similar to that which drives much of organized religion. I don’t think any of this advances the cause for or against religion, but a good deal of money is being made in the process.

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