Zeynep Bilgehan ISTANBUL / Hürriyet
The top official of the first ever Atheism Association founded in Turkey has invited religious people to become members too, ruling out atheist proselytizing.
Tolga İnci, interim chair of the association based in Istanbul’s Kadıköy neighborhood, told daily Hürriyet that they had 11 founders and 90 supporting members so far. He said their doors “are open to everybody.”
“You don’t have to be an atheist to come. Anybody who understands and accepts the charter of our association can become a member. Even religious people should come and see what kind of people atheists are,” İnci said, stressing that his association would not get involved in politics.
In an interview with daily Agos last month, the founders had said their main goal would be providing legal support to people facing problems as atheists in Turkey.
Speaking to Hürriyet, İnci said they also “wanted to be understood.”
“We just want to be understood correctly. We don’t have a goal of proselytizing, nor do we have a hope for everyone to become atheists. Everyone should just be human. They should live as they want in their personal space of freedom, but not use it as a pressure tool on somebody else. Atheists should also refrain from doing this,” he said.