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Turkey issues arrest warrant for YouTuber due to ‘insulting’ comments about Islam, Prophet

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Turkish Justice Minister Yılmaz Tunç has announced the issuance of an arrest warrant for a popular YouTuber whose remarks on Islam and the Prophet Muhammad during a recent interview on the platform have sparked criticism for being “insulting.”

Diamond Tema runs a YouTube channel under his name and has more than 870,000 subscribers. In his videos Tema, who has Turkish and Albanian citizenship, mainly talks about issues related to religion, philosophy, history and science.

Tunç announced on X that Tema is being investigated by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office due to his “insulting, ugly and provocative” statements about the Prophet Muhammad on charges of “fomenting hatred and enmity among the people,” under Article 216 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK). He said an arrest warrant has been issued for Tema as part of the investigation since he was discovered to be abroad.

“Ugly and provocative statements targeting Islam and our beloved Prophet are never acceptable. The investigation is being conducted meticulously,” said the minister. Tema made the remarks that sparked the investigation during a recent interview with another YouTuber, Asrın Tok, on Tok’s YouTube channel, Yer6 Film.

In the interview Tema, who describes himself as an agnostic who holds that any ultimate reality (such as God) is unknown and probably unknowable, and Tok discussed Islam and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, with Tema voicing disbelief and directing criticism.

He also criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) over its alleged Islamist leanings.

Amid the outrage on social media due to his remarks, Tema announced on his YouTube channel on Monday that he was forced to leave Turkey for Albania following online threats of arrest and concerns over his safety. He said he might try to return to Turkey in four to five months.

“The next time I come to Turkey, they can arrest me if they want and put me in jail; I can go to court, I can testify then. No problem at all. But I didn’t want to experience this just now, when this is pushed on me, when everyone wants me to die, when everyone wants me to be thrown out,” Tema said in the video.

Turkish authorities also requested that YouTube ban the controversial video.

Turkey is a predominantly Muslim but officially secular state, although investigations into popular figures are common due to their comments about Islam, Islamic law or the Prophet Muhammad.

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