Thursday, November 02, 2006

Turkey : Converts charged under Article 301

HERE for the story

Turan Topal and Hakan Tastan


metin said...

I wonder if the article is insinuating the 2 Turks being charged because they converted to Christianity, or are they being charged because the "two Christians had called Islam a 'primitive and fabricated religion' and had described Turks as a 'cursed people.' They also accused the defendants of opposing the Turkish military, encouraging sexual misconduct and procuring funds from abroad to entice young people in Silivri to become Christians."

Big difference if you ask me.

Having set that aside, I oppose Article 301 on the grounds of 'restricting' freedom of expression or speech even if that means stating that Turks are terrible. You should be able to say that.

But the article should be about Article 301 and not about 'converts.' In other words, if 2 'Muslim' Turks had said the same thing about Turks being evil and cursed, I think they too would be charged under Article 301. So this is definitely not a 'conversion' issue.

But just like one leaves Islam because one doesn't believe in it, then accordingly one should also renounce the citizenship of Turkey as well. It doesn't make sense if you think Turks are cursed and then want to stay a Turk.

Celal Birader said...


Are you familiar with Pakistan's blasphemy laws ? Over there you can get the death penalty for 'insulting' Muhammad. In many cases, bogus accusations are made about people who are known to be Christian. In fact, more often than not, these laws are spitefully used against folk who convert to the Christian faith.

So knowing this and also knowing the situation on the ground in Turkey, i personally strongly doubt these accusations have any basis in fact. These two men are simply being harassed by means of Article 301 since you can't legally "get at them" for converting by any other means.

Welcome to the real world.

metin said...

But these guys are not Pakistanis or are they in Pakistan. Are you alleging that these two are simply being charged because they converted to Christiniaty?

That's absurd if you think that. I would think there are more than just 2 converts in the entire nation of Turkey.

and when you say, "you can't legally "get at them" for converting by any other means," i am hoping you are not referring to me as part of the 'you.'

why the insecurity and the guilt? or is it simply a case of an inferiority complex?

by the way, you haven't addressed the question of had 2 muslims called Turks evil, would they have been 'dismissed' because they are hold to a different bar taking their 'muslim-ness' into account.

as a secular state, the freedom of religion in Turkey needs to improve period. but Turkey is not a 'muslim' state, and the 'Muslims' in Turkey suffer for their restrictions on freedoms of their expressions as well.

you seem to think that article 301 was simply a gimmick to get converts charged.

Celal Birader said...

You are correct in that the 'Muslims' in Turkey suffer for their restrictions on freedoms of their expressions as well.

'Insecurity', 'guilt', 'inferiority' or 'superiority' has nothing to do with any of this.

The existence of Article 301 is a weapon which can and has been turned against different kinds of people for a wide range of charges, mostly nebulous.

For instance, it has been used against Orhan Pamuk, as we all know, and also against Armenians (i.e Hrant Dink). I don't know if it has been used against Kurds but easily could be, couldn't it ?

Now we are seeing it used against converts. You think that because people leave you alone to pursue your 'life,liberty and happiness' in Southern California even though you are a Muslim (or nominally so, by your own admission) that it works the same way with Christians in Muslim countries.

Now way, Jose ! It's nowhere that easy being a Christian in Turkey, my friend. Not at all. I suspect you have not much first hand experience living in Turkey.

While, as you say, the state is secular the mentality of the man on the street definitely is not.

Therefore, as far as the man on the street is concerned, Turkey is a "muslim state". Moreover, if present trends continue, it could very easily stop being the secular state that it is.

Celal Birader said...

and when you say, "you can't legally "get at them" for converting by any other means," i am hoping you are not referring to me as part of the 'you.'

Why do you get the idea that i am refering to you personally ?

Does the report in Compass mention that Metin from Southern Cal had something to do with sending these two guys down?

Or is there something you're not telling us ? :-)

metin said...

hey, don't give out state secrets.


metin said...

are you planning on going to Turkey and living there, and therefore afraid that article 301 will affect you?

or are you so concerned about your brethren currently living under extreme conditions in Turkey?

or would you rather Turkey find the true religion and dismiss itself of Muslim bloodline?

or are you just so anti-Turkish to the point that nothing will improve there so we'll just attack it attitude?

what exactly do you care for? do you want Turkey to remove article 301 so Christians can convert Muslims easier? or have them deny their non-evilness? or give up and renounce their Turkish identity? or simply go back to Central Asia where they came from!

Are you Turkish first or have you converted out of that too? And if you have, then I understand your points! And I promise I won't hold that against you!

Celal Birader said...

Those are all good questions.

We can discuss them over an overpriced cup of Starbucks next time I'm in the neightborhood.

BTW, what do you do for a living, Metin ?

Oz Kanka said...

Don't forget that they are also being charged under article 135 and 216. It is under those laws that they are being charged for attempting to convert people or at least for their alleged disparaging comments about Islam. The 301 charge is probably for allegedly describing Turks as "a cursed people".

metin said...

i agree ozkanka that there's more to the story than just being 2 converts, as I am sure there is more than just the 2.

celal: I am what you may call a 'starving executive.' Starbucks may really be out of my league. But thanks anyway for the offer.

By the way, I am all for civil liberties for ALL Turks, not just the Christian ones. And I am all for protesting the high price of a good cup of coffee by assigning it italian and french names, as well as false advertising where 'tall' is really 'small.'

Celal Birader said...

ozjkanka : I don't know what 135 and 216 is about but 301 is enough to show that Turkey is not a free country.

I am not interested in becoming a political activist in the face of such injustices (although the temptation is great) but societies become free only as more and more individuals in them become free of the guilt and the penalty of their sin.

The Bible teaches all are sinners.

JESUS is the Almighty God who came, lived for 33 years for the express purpose of dying on a cross to take the penalty of our sin.

As more and more people in society make this their personal belief they become free and then that society becomes freer and freer.

The West is in real danger of losing its' freedoms (which are hard to gain but easy to lose) because it has become what they call "post-Christian". Except maybe for America, the West has jettisoned the Bible, and salvation in Jesus Christ as the foundational truth for individuals and society.

There is no other way.

Celal Birader said...

Metin : what's a 'starving executive' ? is it anything like a 'starving actor' ?