Atheist Refugee Assistance Program 

Turkey is the most refugee hosting country around the world. Some of these refugees are political asylum seekers who had to flee their country because they rejected Islam. As The Association of Atheism, Turkey (AD) taking inspiration from initiatives such as Atheist Support Network of the Atheist Alliance International (AAI) and Secular Rescue Program of the Center for Inquiry (CFI), we have decided to assume a more active role to help unbeliever refugees who currently live in Turkey.

First of all, we would like to remind you that the AD is a very small non governmental organization with only 300-400 members. Our association stands with the support of our members and donors. Even so, wishing to extend a helping hand to the unbeliever refugees in Turkey, we have rolled up our sleeves and applied to some of the international umbrella organizations of which we are a member. Fortunately, these institutions have not refused our request regarding the issue; consequently we were able to start making preparations about a year ago.

In todays pro-Islamic Turkey, free-thinking and non-believer refugees experience great difficulty in finding a rental, roommate, job etc., due to their contrary views and the language barrier. Even if these are somehow found, because of their atheist identity, the risk of losing everything is quite high in our country which is becoming increasingly religious. As members and executives of the AD, we have been experiencing this discrimination first hand for years and don’t want our refugee friends to experience it as well. Despite this dark picture, our country has a large number of intellectual citizens who want to lend a helping hand to the non-believer, free-thinking, secular or atheist refugees and asylum seekers in finding/giving accommodation and jobs. These people respect the freedom of speech and disbelief, even if they themselves are believers. They have common values and views as us. From this point of view, we decided that it was necessary to create a communication network/service that would meet this need and started the ARAP (Atheist Refugee Assistance Program). 

The purpose of the service to be provided within the scope of ARAP, is to help the refugees in Turkey who have escaped from the religious persecution in their own countries to build a new life.

* Refugees who have taken shelter/asylum in our country due to their disbelief/secular life style, and clearly stated this issue in their immigration documents can benefit from this service. 

* Unfortunately, within the scope of this program, it is NOT POSSIBLE for us to provide grants/financial support and finance their rent and living expenses to the non-believer refugees. The aim of this program is to provide technical and social assistance for these people in the following fields:

1. ACCOMODATION

Finding a place to live/roommate to stay with for atheist asylum seekers/refugees in Turkey. Helping applicants to share their posts on local and online platforms; translating the documents they made need, guiding and following their application processes.

2. JOB

Finding jobs for the atheist asylum seekers/refugees in Turkey. Translating the applicants’ curriculum vitae (CV) into Turkish. Preparing templates for applicants and guiding them through the process.

3. LEGAL HELP 

Accepting applications from atheist asylum seekers/refugees for legal aid. After investigating and confirming the authenticity of their applications, AD will take over the legal process from here on and legal support will be provided through the association’s volunteer lawyers.

4. LETTERS etc.

Reviewing applications of atheist asylum seekers/refugees for reference letters, confirmation letters or support letters for their asylum claim. For such applications, additional verification may be required from a secondary source in the person’s country to verify the accuracy of the applicant’s request.

5. GUIDANCE

Assisting the applicants to prepare documents regarding the allowance, grant and scholarship requests to be sent to Turkish and international organizations, funds, institutions, associations, secular / humanist / atheist charities.

For all this, we need your support as well. You can join this network to assist our Case Managers. The fields requiring your help the most are listed below:

(1) Volunteers to deal with online advertisements

(2) Translators who will take part in meetings and correspondence (Persian or Arabic languages are mandatory)

(3) Host/Roommate

(4) Employer

We will be accepting the applications as soon as possible, via the buttons added under this text.