Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate files criminal complaint against Armenian author Nişanyan over remark on adhan

Turkey, Jan 25 2024

Duvar English

Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) has filed a criminal complaint against Armenian author and linguist Sevan Nişanyan for his statements criticizing the loudness of the adhan (the Islamic calls to prayer that occur five times each day) in a YouTube livestream. 

The complaint suggested Nişanyan’s words “insulted the adhan, attacked and debased the religious values of all Muslims, and offended the Directorate as well as its public officials,” state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Jan. 24. 

According to the Directorate, Nişanyan crossed the lines of respect and “spewed hatred to the Turkish public’s beliefs and spiritual values in a hostile manner.” The complaint requested a public prosecution for the author for the crimes of “insulting public officers about their duty,” and “provoking and insulting the public to enmity.”

The statement is from a 2021 livestream on Nişanyan’s YouTube channel. He said, “I don’t know any attack as vile and intrusive as blasting the adhan through speakers. It is one of the most despicable aspects of life in Turkey, the adhan bellowing like animals.” 

In 2013, the self-proclaimed “honest atheist” and controversial figure was sentenced to a year in prison for insulting Prophet Muhammed of Islam. He has been living abroad since 2017 after fleeing prison where he was staying on charges related to illegal development on an archeological site.