Turkish man removes ‘Islam’ as identity, threatened

Ankara, June 23 (IANS) A self-proclaimed atheist from Turkey’s southeastern province of Adiyaman, was forced to leave his hometown after receiving death threats for removing “Islam” from the religious affiliation section of his national identity card, media reported on Tuesday.

The threats began on May 21, with the man receiving two letters containing death threats and his house being marked, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

Fearing for his life, he appealed to the Adiyaman branch of Turkey’s Human Rights Association (IHD), which filed a criminal complaint in his name.

He subsequently decided to leave Adiyaman for the neighbouring province of Gaziantep, where he started to live with his uncle.

However, the threats continued when he visited Adiyaman with his uncle on June 13 for his grandfather’s funeral.

Upon his return to Gaziantep, he found another letter containing a verse from the Quran written in Arabic and a sentence written in Turkish below that read “We are entitled to your blood”.

Speaking to Turkish newspaper, Radikal, he said the state should grant him legal protection.

“I can no longer leave my house or hang out with my friends. I am an atheist. My family members are Alevis. I believe this is why I’m receiving death threats. I want the state to find those who are threatening me and I want the state to protect me,” he said.

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