Turkish atheist group files complaint against Islamist daily for defamation

The Turkish Atheists Association filed a criminal complaint against pro-government Islamist Yeni Akit newspaper for insulting atheists in article published in February.

One of the association’s lawyers, Mehmet Türkaslan, filed the complaint with Ankara’s chief prosecutor’s office over an article dated Feb. 11, titled, “What are the stages of atheism? Do atheists respect everyone?” T2 news site reported.

The Yeni Akit report violates the Article 216 of the Turkish Criminal Code, the association's team of lawyers said, which imposes penalties for inciting “groups of the population to breed enmity or hatred towards one another,” by means that include the denigration of religious values.

The news article claimed atheists evolved through several stages, transforming from a general respect for everyone, to narcissism, hedonism and, finally, anarchism.

“Some atheists may reach a final stage of savagery. Not feeling pity for anyone,” the article said. “This is generally seen in Western societies and countries in which disbelief is widespread.”