Recep Erdogan speaks into a microphone at a press event infront of a blue backdrop with large white text on it (illegible). He has short greying black hair swept to one side and a moustache. He wears a blue suit and tie.

Humanist Society speaks out on Humza Yousaf’s invitation to Scotland for Recep Erdoğan

January 29, 2024

We made our views clear after a freedom of information release to The Herald revealed that first minister Humza Yousaf had invited Turkish President Recep Erdoğan on a diplomatic visit to Scotland. Turkey’s human rights record and previously well-regarded commitment to secularism have both plummeted under Erdoğan’s authoritarian rule.

Responding to news about the invitation, which was offered at Cop28 in December, our CEO Fraser Sutherland stated:

“This is a very short sighted invite from the first minister. Under President Erdoğan Turkey has seen a sustained attack on civil liberties and human rights. Allegations of torture against political prisoners are widespread and the Turkish government censors and blocks webpages of news websites that are critical of the governing party.

“The country installed a blasphemy law this century through its reform of penal codes. In 2015 the Turkish Atheist Association had its website banned by a court for ‘disrupting public order.’ The United States Commission on Religious Freedom states that ‘the Turkish government’s use of this article [blasphemy] is generally politically motivated.’

“Erdogan is an authoritarian despot. He should not be welcomed to Bute House by this first minister or any who follow him.”

Fraser’s comments were quoted in articles in The Herald, MSN, The Daily Mail, The Morning Star, and elsewhere.

Support our campaign work, make a donation today

Our campaign work is funded by the generous support of our members and supporters. Support our campaign work and help to create a fairer Scotland and world.

Handwriting a letter

Join us!

Your membership will help to fund our campaign work to make Scotland a more secular, rational, and socially just country, and to ensure everyone in Scotland has access to humanist ceremonies to mark important life events.

Two people in a conference crowd laughing

Image c. Paul Morigi/Creative Commons.

Latest Related Stories

A view of the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room at the UN headquarters in Geneva. Circular rows of desks are arranged on the floor but most of the picture is taken up by the ceiling artwork, a textured sculpture in a blue, green, orange, and yellow colour wash with stalactite like formations handing down from it.

We tell UN human rights committee that compulsory religious observance in Scottish schools must end

We tell UN human rights committee that compulsory religious observance in Scottish schools must end
Brian Souter gesticulates with his arms as he speaks. He is wearing a blue suit with a stagecoach logo and has short brown hair, balding on top.

We comment on Humza Yousaf’s relationship with evangelical businessman Brian Souter, funder of US-based organisations alleged to have covered up sexual assault in US

We comment on Humza Yousaf’s relationship with evangelical businessman Brian Souter, funder of US-based organisations alleged to have covered up sexual assault in US
Alice stands on a street wearing a white dress with leather jacket. She has dark pulled back hair and holds her hand to her head. A scottish street stretches away in the background.

Humanist Society interview series: Alice Murray of Back Off Scotland on abortion clinic harassment

Humanist Society interview series: Alice Murray of Back Off Scotland on abortion clinic harassment
A black and white photo of seven women in academic gowns and mortarboards posing on the steps of a building.

On International Day of Women and Girls in Science, here’s to the Edinburgh Seven

On International Day of Women and Girls in Science, here’s to the Edinburgh Seven