Freedom Of Press Challenged In Turkey

The Turkish publisher of the best-selling book by Richard Dawkins may wind up in court for daring to publish a book written by an atheist. The prosecutor is investigating whether to charge publisher Erol Karaasian with getting out a book that supposedly incites religious hatred and insults religious values because Dawkins questions the existence of a God. As of this date, the book has sold about 6,000 copies in Turkey.

It is actions such as these which endanger the possibility that Turkey will be accepted into the European Union. The assumption of the Turkish prosecutor is that it is forbidden to insult religion, but perfectly legal to insult those who are atheists. As far as it is know, no Muslim author of leaflets and publications which preach hatred toward Jews or advocate suicide bombing which results in the death of innocent Muslim men, women, and children, has ever been threatened with inciting hatred or violating religious values. One assumes killing children is not justified under any ground in the Muslim religion. This incident also makes one wonder if the Turkish government has better things to do than pester a book publisher who sold 6,000 copies in a nation of millions. If Turkey does not accept European Union standards of freedom of speech and the press they will never be admitted. So, which is it–worry about a book selling 6,000 copies or get into the EU?