Here is a glimpse of life in “secular Turkey” today: a Kemalist MP, that is, a member of the party that founded and defends Turkish secularism, brought charges of “openly offending Islam” against an MP who is member of the AKP — that is, the party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which is rapidly dismantling Turkish secularism and re-Islamizing. Note also that the charge was dismissed not because it is not a crime to joke about the Qur’an in this “secular” state, but because “the wiretap recording did not come as a result of a legal eavesdropping operation.” No one involved seems to have pointed out that the charge itself was a challenge to the Turkish state’s ostensibly secular character.
“Prosecutor dismisses complaint against former EU minister on charges of insulting Islam,” Hürriyet Daily News, May 7, 2014 (thanks to Joshua):
The Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office has dismissed a complaint filed against former EU Minister Egemen Bağış on charges of “openly insulting Islam.”
Remarks allegedly delivered by Bağış during a wiretapped telephone conversation were subject to a complaint from main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul deputy Mahmut Tanal.
In the leaked phone conversation with a journalist, Bağış allegedly joked about the Quran, saying that he “threw out” verses from the Quran every Friday.
The leak of the conversation was part of a series of audio recordings leaked through social media in the aftermath of the huge corruption probe that opened on Dec. 17, 2013.
The dismissal decision from the prosecutor’s office was based on the fact that the wiretap recording did not come as a result of a legal eavesdropping operation.
The prosecutor also ruled that the accused “insult” could only be punished if the act was “in public” and aimed at “abolishing public order.” As the conversation took place between two persons privately, it did not qualify as being “in public,” according to the prosecutor.