Hakan Tastan and Turan Topal

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Who is Hakan Tastan and Turan Topal?

Hakan Tastan and Turan Topal are two Turkish converts from Islam to Christianity who went on trial on November 23, 2006, several days before a visit to Turkey by Pope Benedict XVI on charges of "allegedly insulting 'Turkishness' and inciting religious hatred against Islam".

Turan Topal converted to Christianity in 1989 whereas Hakan Tastan converted in 1994.

The men were accused of insulting Turkish heritage and inciting hate against Muslims while allegedly trying to convert other Turks to Christianity. The men were charged under Turkey's Article 301, which has been used to bring charges against dozens of Turkish intellectuals. According to the written charges, the three plaintiffs, identified as Fatih Kose, 23, Alper, 16, and Oguz, 17, claimed the two Christians had called Islam a "primitive and fabricated religion" and had described Turks as a "cursed people."

They also accused the defendants of opposing the Turkish military, encouraging sexual misconduct, procuring funds from abroad to entice young people in Silivri to become Christians and secretly compiling data on private citizens for a local Bible correspondence course.

One paper, Zaman, even claimed that the two Christians were connected to Hakan Ekinci, the man who on October 3 hijacked a Turkish Airlines plane to Italy where he claimed to be Christian and a conscientious objector, and had appealed to Pope Benedict XVI for asylum.

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on July 23, 2013

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