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back to article Turkey probes The God Delusion for 'insulting religion'

A prosecutor in Turkey has launched an investigation into Richard Dawkins' bestselling polemic The God Delusion on suspicion that it incites religious hatred and insults religous values. Publisher Erol Karaaslan said today he will be quizzed by authorities in Istanbul on Thursday. A successful prosecution could land him a year …

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I am not a Turk

I am a human being!!!

(I wonder if that defense could work...!)

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Anonymous Coward

What!

Can someone please explain why we are letting these people join the EU?

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Dead Vulture

Toughening

If a religion can't stand up to a little criticism, then it's not much of a basis for living your life, is it?

And that's not blood, it's vomit. Anonymous vulture vomit. First the thin-skinned Sundanese, now this.

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Anonymous Coward

Hysterical

So now the world is in search of a tactful way of telling deluded idiots their sacred beliefs are a load of crap. Tricky one.

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Fanatics scare the daylights out of me

Having faith in a supreme being is all well and good until you show up at my door. I have my own beliefs. I do not force them on others. I expect the same courtesy in return. Faith is one of those things that should be intensely private like making love.

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How about a follow up?

It could be called "The Turkey Delusion", and debunk the belief that Turkey isn't run by deluded fools.

Still, the way UK law is heading, we'll be back to having to "respect" these fairy-story belief systems too.

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Turkey should totally be in the EU...

But frankly given the xenophobic reaction by nations that think the EU should be a x-ian only club they're probably better off staying out.

Article 301 is clearly a problem; the government is clearly interested in doing something about it. I'm sure the publisher isn't going to get done under that law; it just doesn't seem to apply given that Turkey is a secular state and not an Islamic republic.

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Funny

The first chapter of that book is all about how it's okay to criticise almost anything except religion, and why that should ( or should not ) be the case.

Quite odd that a supposedly secular country like Turkey is pursuing it. Surely secular covers atheism as well.

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makes a change

that makes a change from religion insulting peoples intelligence.

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@crashIO

Erm, I take it you harbour a dislike for pron then...?

Otherwise good standpoint!

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@crashIO

I suppose that would make organised religion pornography then. Doing it in public, with everybody looking etc.

(Hey, Reg! Organised doesn't have a 'z' - surely a UK publication should have a UK English compatible spell-checker! - it can't spell theatre either. It's a pity It won't correct 'there', 'their' and 'they're' though [sigh])

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Anonymous Coward

@Anonymous Coward 1

"Can someone please explain why we are letting these people join the EU?"

From what I've seen of EU "incitement to hatred" and "hate speech" laws, Turkey, far from being a laggard, is on the avant garde of European policy.

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Stop

Eh?

So, he's inciting religious hatred by arguing that God doesn't exist? I think I'll go and have a lie down, with my teddy, Beelzebub.

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Pirate

Best book ever

Seriousaly, should be required reading in all schools and all fanatic-countries. It's intentionally inflammatory just to balance out the crap we've had to deal with from religious groups in our ages.

The universe and questions within philosophy are so exciting as it is, I don't know why anyone would want to view the road through ridiculous filters.

/goes back to scribbing doodles of Mohammad on his notebook

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Anonymous Coward

Well that will be another reason not to let them join the EU then....

Teddy Bears called Mohammed, now this. When will the world learn: religion - just say no.

Still at least Turkey doesn't prosecute the victims of rape so that makes them moderate muslims then I suppose?

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Go

@crashIO

Are you suggesting that religion is like making love to a beautiful woman?

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Alien

Scary

Unfortunately most religions have a "Go out and tell people" component and "we are the right religion and the rest are rubbish".

The scary thing is not the religions themselves just the fanatics who can read the same passage of the Bible/QurÕan as another believer but somehow interpret it as telling them to smite the unbelievers.

Got the book and i AM going to read it which is more than most of the Turkish Council will do.

Alien Logo because i often feel the Aliens are already here and creating these bizzare news events.

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Paris Hilton

One Reader !!!!

Just re-read the article and ONE READER complained out of 6000 copies.

You could chain yourself to the Prime Ministers front door in the UK with the wife AND kids and they wouldn't bother to acknowledge you.

(unless you were Paris Hilton!)

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Their business

If any country wants to proscribe negative comments on their religion that is - as far as I'm concerned - their business (and that of their citizens). Of course we can do business with them, at arm's length, and enjoy relations with them that lead to better understanding.

The problem we've made for ourselves is that, instead of respecting our own traditions and institutions, we've bent over, wrung our hands and spent the last decades apologising for being British.

Time we sorted our own problems instead of pointing out others'.

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Dead Vulture

Sounds like down-home Texas-style religion to me

In the US, the president George W "thumper" Bush tried to revoke citizenship of the non-theists. The actual, physical, current Constitution of state of Texas prohibits anyone born without the god gene from holding public office in the state. The only country on the planet whose citizens support the USA is likewise a theocracy.

But, hey, thanks for the report on Turkey, At least I know I needn't be jealous.

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Unhappy

Religions worry me.

The fact that this is happening is pure and simple justification for one of Dawkins' themes: religion is about accepting what you are told - subjugation is rewarded, faith without any shred of evidence is a virtue and god help you if you question the religious.

if you haven't read the book, read it - it's superb. Every argument for religion is systematically dismantled utterly, utterly brilliantly.

This handling with kid gloves of anything to do with religion needs to stop.

The fact that the silliness about The Golden Compass being spouted by the Catholic League is getting coverage just depresses me... http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7115300.stm - but then again the general American public acceptance of religious claptrap as truth scares me.

Roll on a secular world...

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Dawkins should be proud

It doesn't matter how much religious people run to the courts, there still isn't a god :-)

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Flame

Religious Criticism

When Scientific Beliefs are criticised scientists attempt to prove them - why can't religious zealots do this in the same way? ... oh wait.

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Anonymous Coward

Uh huh

A reader of a book called "The God Delusion" has complained that it insults "sacred values".

Well put me in a bear suit and call me Mohammed!

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Paris Hilton

Idiots

This is even sillier that the teddy named Mohamed, please let this be the reason for not letting them into the EU so they grow up and stop playing with imaginary friends.

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D

Is it competition time or something?

Seems like there's some sort of bidding war going on for the most shit-thick, regressive claim of criminality going on.

We've had the ever progressive Saudi establishment insisting on the incarceration and whipping of a women for having the brazen feminist lunacy of not only getting raped but complaining about it.

Next up the Sudanese government offered to flog a teacher for calling a fake bear after an imaginary man - AKA Mohamed.

Now Turkey, upset at suspicions of liberality cropping up, reaches for the blasphemy laws once more.

So far, a certain flavour of Islam seems to be hogging the limelight: come on Jews and Christians, where are you? The Lords Resistance Army of Uganda, I'm thinking of you just about now... .. .

Mind that Rabbi who blamed hurricane Katrina on Louisiana's black population as they 'don't do Torah' really wouldn't go amiss either,

C.

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Anonymous Coward

I agree with the turks...

but only because dawkins is such a pointless individual and anyone associated him deserves to be locked up. Well, okay, i'm exaggerating quite a lot. But really.

Does such a clearly intelligent man really have to write thousands and thousands of overly convoluted words to point out that ...What. We have no proof of God, religion can cause wars, people can get a bit obsessive. Well no shit sherlock. Pats on the back all round. Is his next book going to be, 'Water - how we can't live without it.' Or is it that other classic 'Crystal Balls, they don't really see into the future?'

Can't wait for those insights either.

I don't do god at all but nor do I get tied up in being anti-god. It's all irrelevant. It's not like he's saying anything new, interesting, revelatory - although i guess he'd probably be against the latter anyway.

These atheists are just as fanatical. Bloody Freethinker readers. At least with the god believers you know where they are on a sunday, atheists creep up on you when you're least expecting it.

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RK
Gates Horns

it's funny how...

no one ever seems to prosecute religious fanatic freaks for persecuting others (except for the occasional abortion-clinic bomber).

this kind of story (along with sad tales of the imminent extinction of wild tigers) has a lot to do with why i've essentially given up on humanity as a hopelessly backward species that will eventually do itself (and huge numbers of other lifeforms) in through a mix of cleverness and gullibility. what's really sad about it is that the numbers of the brainwashed religious fanatics in my country (Amerikkka) are growing faster than the counterbalancing numbers of open-minded fanatics, trending us inevitably towards a new dark-age.

TEH DOOMSAYER HAS SPOKEN!

thank you, time for a nap.

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Coat

@crashIO

You just paraphrased about half of the New Testament. Just thought I'd mention that... :)

I find it odd that Dawkins has railed against the christians in particular and not met with much more than blank indifference, a lot of shouting and... not much else, and now the supposedly secular government of Turkey is talking about banning his book. The world has gone insane. I think I might just buy a copy out of spite now.

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Anonymous Coward

Title

I do try to accept other cultures as merely being different to my own. and accept they are as worthy of respect as my own values. But it is difficult to retain tolerance in the face of such blatant intolerance such as we have had reported recently. If I wasn't trying so hard I might even think that It appeared, some folk deliberately hold ridiculous views, and countries pass ridiculous laws, just to be awkward.

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Paris Hilton

What I dont get

If the reader who bought the book and was insulted (or felt a long dead prophet was insulted) why did he simply not put the book down and read something else?

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Dead Vulture

Racist and Hateful Postings to this article

"I am not a Turk..I am a human being!!!"

"Can someone please explain why we are letting these people join the EU?"....

I cannot belive there people are readers of the Register enjoying insulting Turks and calling US "un-human" "these people".

I see that most of you are more ignorant than moronic prosecuters who file charges that will never materialize in the courts of Istanbul.

Racisim is bigger crime than lack of human rights..

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Flame

This could be taken as good news

If the stability and customer base of organised religion (like organised crime but not yet illegal) in Turkey is now so fragile that they have to lash out in this pathetic way against any structured and informed debate then that should be good news. If the perceived risk of this book to the collapsing power base of the organised churches is so high that is call for a party.

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Pat
Black Helicopters

EUAW & off you go

Lucky that Turkish prosecutor can't apply for an EU Arrest Warrant...yet!

"Fast-track extradition warrants are being issued for minor offences including a demand for the arrest of one suspect for the theft of a piglet, European Union officials have said...

Civil liberties campaigners are concerned that the EAW does not require a proportionality test or allow refusal if the offence does not exist under national laws."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/07/16/warrest116.xml

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Dawkins delusion

Insult to religion? Insult to descent well structured arguments more like.

Either way, it's just a book putting forward someone's opinions, it can be insulting in parts, sometimes apparently deliberately so, in order to ram home an argument, it is pretty transparently a rallying call to Dawkins' fans. Ultimately if something exists that is insulting to your religion, chances are that it will polarise people's beliefs so are that a fair amount of people will become stronger believers because of it.

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Unhappy

Hungry

So can I still have Turkey for Christmas? I promise not to call it moohamud.... or jeezus.. or budder...

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Silver badge

To quote Galileo

"I feel no need to subscribe to belief in a god who has endowed in us sense, reason and intelligence, but does not wish for us to use it"

Religious idiocy has been going on for millenia but until we stop giving into any moron with a belief in fairies and stand up to the idiots that perpetuate these stupid ideas things will not improve...

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ian
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Alert

Ideology is a substitute for religion

If ideology is a substitute for religion, what can you say about religion as a substitute for ideology? Certainly Turkey seems to have completely mixed ideology and religion!

If having a religion opposed to the EU's dominant Christianity is the equivalent of having an opposing ideology to the EU's, then certainly Turkey should not be admitted.

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Jobs Horns

Re: Racist and Hateful Postings to this article

To the anonymous coward who thinks criticising Turkey because of its government policies is racist...

It would be racist if people said "We shouldn't let these people into the EU because too many of them have beige skin and a penchant for Fez hats".

It is not racist to say "We shouldn't let these people into the EU because they ban books about religion and throw people in prison for criticising the government".

Your post is yet another example of a shrill intellectual wimp cheapening the term 'racism' by using it as a meaningless slander whenever faced with an argument that you can't defeat through other means. Thanks to your ilk, the term 'racist' has been robbed of all force and meaning.

P.S. "these people" is not a racist epithet.

Devil Steve is my icon, because he's a racist. This is clearly demonstrated by the fact that Apple charge more for black iBooks.

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RE: Racist and Hateful Postings to this article

>"I am not a Turk..I am a human being!!!"

I don't think that was an attempt to dehumanize Turks, but more an attempt to try arguing the logic that one's geographical place of birth should not define them. Any more than one should say that they're Catholic, Protestant, or Muslim before they remember that they're human first and foremost. It's the thing we all have in common. :-D

>"Can someone please explain why we are letting these people join the EU?"....

>

>I cannot belive there people are readers of the Register enjoying insulting Turks >and calling US "un-human" "these people".

The concern people are expressing here is really in response to such a Theistic culture where this could even be considered. The problem with this view point is that in these terms I can see that the UK seems to be lagging behind, but we'll catch up. Bearing in mind that in the US the equivalent nut-jobs have already had their shouting.

>I see that most of you are more ignorant than moronic prosecuters who file >charges that will never materialize in the courts of Istanbul.

I don't think that it's fair that this sort of Generalization is thrown around, in either direction. The prosecutors need to be hand-slapped for raising this, I agree.

>Racisim is bigger crime than lack of human rights..

Bugger. You see, right up until there I was right with you; I've only been fortunate to meet a handful of turks, each of which was as nice a person as I could hope to meet, but that, right there is a bunch of crap.

Racism is similar to a lack of human rights; both dehumanize the individual and damage their liberties based upon erroneous, misinformed perceptions. However, as they're both grey areas, where does one draw the line? Is referring to the local shop as a "Paki's" really worse than giving somebody 200 lashes for being Raped?

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@Adrian Challinor

A bit like the bloke having sex with the bicycle.......... why did these cleaners have to stay and watch?

It does make you wonder if there is any sense left in the world. As for Turkey joining the EU, I do wonder how many more people Europe can take flooding into their country before it becomes a problem? I'm not being a Xenophobe or racist, but I just think that there has to be a point where Britain can't physically take any more immigrants?

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Coat

@John A Blackley

"The problem we've made for ourselves is that, instead of respecting our own traditions and institutions, we've bent over, wrung our hands and spent the last decades apologising for being British."

I thought that WAS a British tradition... Ah well, what do I know, just a yank...

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Anonymous Coward

The Science Delusion

I think a lot of humans have a predisposition to want explanations for phenomena.

This predisposition is making them believe that science is the new religion.

Science is just 'best guess', most good scientists will tell you that. Science through the ages has proven itself wrong countless times. That is the beauty of science.

But, ever since Dawkins has been going on about the God delusion, science has been attracting the moonbats who would normally be associated with main stream Religion. After seeing a few of his talks, I think he borders on the delusion that science can explain all, but still marvels at the things we (well he) don't know. Most of his followers though use his work to support the religion of atheism.

Who is to say that evolution was not designed, or that our understanding of the world was not already mapped out at the macro level; the dark ages and the Library of Alexandria's burning demise could point to some external influence.

One thing is for sure though, nearly all religions are about control, they are the tap from which decisions flow. It just looks like the new religion of science wants that role now.

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Flame

"tolerance" is also a cultural value

so before everyone gets holier (or unholier)-than-thou about "keepin them durn Turkish savages outta my EU" try to remember that this "tolerance of other cultures" that you pat yourselves on the back for, is just another cultural value that's been promoted by Western societies. For you to force "tolerance" on any cultural is *exactly* the same as forcing any of the *rest* of your judeo-christian cultural values. Any arguments made to the contrary are simply justification and excuses-which often sound the same as the "failth" arguments that you are so disrespectful of religious folk using.

But, don't let that get in the way of your "faith" in Humanity and Science (capitalized so the 'smarterer" non-religious folks don't get offended and start a crusade).

Nor does being an anti-theist make you smarter or more intelligent. An intolerant moron is still an intolerant moron no matter his faith or lack thereof. Following a faith with quotes from a holy book, or following a "science" with quotes you took from another "holy" source (wikipedia, the Library perhaps?) which you cannot personally verify and didn't really even bother to research from multiple sources (getting hand-fed "facts" is not research) is pretty much the same thing. (Funny how history shows that many people who could actually design, perform, witness and understand the experiments to show how the universe really works, Einstein for example, were *still* strong in their faith. While some college student specializing in hemp and hops consumption sees a paragraph on "E=MC^2" on a Wikipedia page and takes all the conclusions reached on *Faith* In Science and adds that to his already-decided "there ain't no God" support folder.)

Any difference is liberal narcissim. If you want to understand the "religious" fanatic, look to your own absolute sense that you are *absolutely* right and anyone who doesn't agree is somehow less than you, subhuman.

*sits back to watch the Jihad Of Science And Logic..."Burn the Believers!"

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Alert

You are getting it wrong

I am a Turkish citizen living in US. I can assure you that that prosecutor is most likely not a religious person. Turkey is an over-secular country. The secular establishment is very strong, and no one can really be blamed of being non-religious. It is so extreme that Turkish army keeps warning governments for being not secular, where they are secular but they also want to let people be free in practicing their religion.

Anyway, this is probably a "ultra-nationalist" prosecutor. The government can not control prosecutors. Some of them keep filing charges against people and cause a headache for the country. Turkey doesn't deserve this. Turkish people have no problem with other people's faith, not at all. The government officially says they don't agree with these suits. And I can tell you 99%, no one will be hurt because of this case, but Turkey.

Before swearing or insulting nations, try knowing them first.

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Unhappy

Closer to home

Our previous beloved leader Saint Tony of Sedgewick was a firm believer in faith based schools. Also he was quite happy to chuck large sums of money at people who wished to set up such schools. Given our freedoms under the EU convention on Human Right could I apply for fund to set up an anti-denominatonal school, yes thats right ANTI not just NON-denominational. If the goverment is willing to support religion it must also have a duty to support the opposite view as well. Or am I just a deluded fool?

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Re: I agree with the Turks - and the comment about racism

Dawkins didn't just write about religion. He's an evolutionary biologist. I wouldn't lightly call a man with his achievements 'pointless' - have you read The Selfish Gene? Heard of it?

...Now to the comment about racism - I think you've taken the posts here a bit too hard (understandable though - if I read your post correctly I take it you're Turkish; if I was, I think I'd have felt the same to be honest). I think this is more about careless wording than racism.

I mean, I could easily be wrong, but I don't think people here are suggesting that Turks are crazy religious fanatics and shouldn't be allowed to enter EU countries. Some people here strongly object to the Turkish government's apparent attitude to what amounts to polite criticism of ridiculous views held by a subset of the population, and do not think it's a good idea to allow Turkey as a country to join the EU.

Personally I disagree - I don't really see a problem with allowing a relatively religious country or a country with a relatively religious government to join. After all the UK is a fairly christian place (not something I approve of; 'broadly christian' worship sessions being required in schools is frankly bizarre. I was raised an atheist and found it a little confusing as a young child being told that there was an afterlife and a god that my parents hadn't mentioned to me by people who couldn't back up their claims in any way, but people I generally trusted and was expected to believe, in other contexts).

Anyway, I digress. My point really is that I don't think this place is full of racists; don't worry about it. I suppose it would make sense to speak carefully when one's words might offend.

(Actually come to think of it, I'm not sure what the hell "I'm not a turk, I'm a human being" comment meant; racist or not it's a bizarre and apparently nonsensical comment!)

I do think though that it's a bit much to say that racism is worse than human rights abuses. I think it's a subset of them. Obviously I'm not condoning it, but I think to suggest that human rights abuses in general are less serious than racism in particular is a bit of an odd assertion.

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Coat

Insulting science & religion

Maybe god is made of dark matter.

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Pointless argument

I was always told that when in polite company never discuss, sex, politics or religion. I asked why and my dad quietly told me (out of earshot of my mum) because with any of these three you get a bunch of freaks,fanatics and fuckwits. Because if you do it right, or wrong, with any of these you will come out of it dirty, embarrassed and in need of a hot shower and a stiff drink.

Think about it ........

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Not in Europe

I have to agree, unfortunately. Turkey is most certainly not ready to be part of the E.U. Not with asinine religious laws like that still on the books.

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