Turkey's courts strenuously restrict Islamic influence

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    Headscarf row grows in Turkey

    Turkey's courts strenuously restrict Islamic influence


    Turkey's government has again come into conflict with the secular judiciary, condemning a High Court ruling some see as a first step towards extending the country's ban on Islamic headscarves in public buildings to the streets.

    Earlier this week, Turkey's highest administrative court, the Council of State, said it objected to the promotion of an elementary school teacher because she wore a headscarf outside of school.

    Under Turkish law, women are not allowed to enter schools and other public buildings wearing headscarves, and the teacher removed it each day while teaching classes.

    In its decision, however, the council expressed concern that even though she removed her head covering in class, the teacher was setting a bad example for young people and had violated the secular principles of the Turkish state.

    The teacher, Aytac Kilinc, has said she will appeal against the decision to the European Court of Human Rights. Some Turkish cabinet ministers expressed shock and dismay on Saturday at the court's ruling.

    Decision condemned

    Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the country's Islamic-leaning prime minister, said: "As the prime minister of a country where freedom prevails, I condemn the decision. Freedom of religion and conscience cannot be restricted."

    Erdogan's wife, Emine, is an observant Muslim who wears a headscarf, as do the wives of most of the governing party's ministers.

    The wives are excluded from official government functions and formal state dinners in Turkey because they wear headscarves.

    Around 99% of Turks are Muslims, but the country's secular establishment, including the courts and the military, has sought for decades to restrict Islamic influence, which some political leaders saw as an obstacle to Western-style modernisation.

    Huseyin Celik, the education minister, said the decision was unacceptable and the state had no right to tell people what they could or could not wear.

    "Forcing people to dress in the same way is not something acceptable, democratically," Celik said. "We won't deal with one's clothes, hair, beard, moustache. Let's deal with what is inside the head."

    http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/83FD7571-C0D4-4852-9D2F-952D8A4A42BB.htm


    From official buildings to the street. Yet it is only for teachers...
     
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    Council of State lashes out at govt

    The New Anatolian / Ankara


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    Led by Cetinkaya, Council of State condemns recent remarks and criticisms against its controversial headscarf ruling, as judicial process is ongoing

    The Council of State Office yesterday decried as "most regrettable" recent government criticisms of its ruling barring a headscarved teacher from taking a position as principal.

    The Council of State's ruling last week cancelling the appointment of a teacher as a principal to a nursery as she was wearing headscarf on her way to school was severely criticized by the government members over the weekend. The justice minister said that the ruling is totally unfair as it interferes with the private sphere of individuals, while Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the ruling as a violation of the freedom of conscience. The foreign minister went further in his criticisms, saying that the ruling is a reflection of an authoritarian and totalitarian political understanding.

    In yesterday's statement, the council said that the remarks exceeded the limits of criticism, and characterized them as "the most regretable statements in the history of the democratic and secular Turkish Republic." The body also said that the statements reveal that the executive body perceives the judiciary as a political rival and they aimed to bring the judiciary and executive to loggerheads.

    The Council of State's leading group held a meeting yesterday under council head Ender Cetinkaya to assess the recent remarks and criticisms. After the meeting, the council released a two-page written statement.

    "One cannot in any way agree with or establish links between the Constitution and remarks which ignore the independence of the constitutionally maintained court and offend the moral fiber of the Council of State," the statement said.

    The statement referred to the separation of powers within the state and recalled that this principle doesn't mean the superiority of one state organ over others but necessitates collaboration between them within the limits of certain state authorities and duties, as stated in the Constitution and the related laws.

    The Council of State also referred to the Constitution's Article 138 on restrictions put on declarations about an ongoing judicial process.

    http://www.thenewanatolian.com/tna-666.html
     

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