Atheist man buried with belongings in non-religious ceremony in Turkey’s Ayvalık
An atheist man who died in the Ayvalık district of the western district of Ayvalık has been buried in a cemented grave along with his personal belongings, forgoing a religious ceremony in line with his will.
Atila Yüksel was 76 years old when he died of a heart attack on Feb. 20, Doğan News Agency reported.
His son, Özgün Yüksel, told the authorities that his deceased father’s will was against a religious funeral ceremony as he was an atheist.
Photographs of Yüksel’s funeral show his shaving set, pocket-knife and comb being put inside the coffin before his burial in a local cemetery on Feb. 21.
In accordance with his will, the bottom and all four sides of the grave were cemented and it was sealed with concrete plates after the coffin was lowered.
The reason for this was to prevent any contact between the coffin and the soil, in compliance with his father’s will, his son explained.
The late man’s wife, Nafiye Yüksel who lives in the neighboring province of İzmir, his son, municipal officials, and cemetery workers were present at the time of the burial. The family also called the local gendarmerie force for security.
Although they are very rare, legally it is possible to hold non-religious burials in Turkey, where an overwhelming majority of the population is Muslim. Cemeteries and religious sites of Christians and other minorities are protected by law.