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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

NSS provokes protest about Turkey’s internet ban on Dawkins

The National Secular Society has joined with a Dutch MEP to complain to the EU Enlargement Commissioner about a Turkish ban on the internet site of Richard Dawkins.

The Dutch MEP Sophie in ’t Veld, who is an Honorary Associate of the NSS, has written to Oli Rehn, the commissioner in charge of considering whether candidate countries are ready to join the European Union, complaining about a Turkish court decision to ban Richard Dawkins’ website.

In the letter, Ms in ’t Veld writes that she wishes Mr Rehn to investigate “the blocking of the website of Professor Richard Dawkins, the world-famous evolutionary biologist. A criminal court in Istanbul reportedly banned the site in September 2008 on the grounds that it ‘violated’ Adnan Oktar's personality after Professor Dawkins criticised Oktar’s lavishly-produced creationist book Atlas of Creation, which is being distributed in Europe in large numbers.”

Ms in ’t Veld says that it is a requirement that countries seeking to accede to the European Union must observe a fundamental right to free expression. On the face of it, the case referred to was a violation of that principle.

Keith Porteous Wood, Executive Director of the National Secular Society, who had asked Ms in ’t Veld to take the matter up, said: “Such a crude denial of basic free expression is surely not acceptable in a country that seeks to be part of the EU. We hope that our action will cause Turkey to urgently rethink this matter.”

You can ask your own MEP to support Sophie in ’t Veld’s protest. If you don’t know who your MEP is, you can find out here

See letter and appendices here

Watch Richard Dawkins ripping into The Atlas of Creation.


28 November 2008


Published Fri, 28 Nov 2008