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Researcher, teacher face legal action on charges of blasphemy, insulting Atatürk

A research assistant at Adnan Menderes University in western Turkey and an imam-hatip schoolteacher in the southern Turkish province of Antalya are facing legal action on charges of insulting Islam’s holy book, the Quran, and the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, respectively, Turkish media reports said on Wednesday.

The research assistant in Aydın, identified only by the initials C.G., has been suspended from his job on the grounds that he posted messages on his Facebook account that allegedly insulted some verses in the Quran, also prompting the university’s rector, Professor Cavit Bircan, to launch an administrative investigation.

C.G. was suspended at the conclusion of the investigation.

In the other incident in Antalya, Harun K. who teaches Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) at the Çetin Çakmak Anatolia Imam-Hatip School in Antalya’s Kepez district, was briefly detained due to an alleged insulting remark about a photo of Atatürk in his classroom.

Harun K. allegedly said: “Take it down, he [Atatürk] is looking treacherously at me. I am scared,” referring to Atatürk’s photo in the classroom.

The teacher was detained following the filing of a criminal complaint by the parent of one of his students.

He was to appear in court on Wednesday.

An article in the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) protects Atatürk’s memory, stipulating one to three years in prison for explicit insults of him.

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