Tag Archives: Turkish courts

Turkish Courts Move Against Freedom Of Press

The ongoing conflict between Turkey’s secular minded judiciary and those supporting the rights of Muslim women took an ominous turn when a public prosecutor filed a lawsuit against a Turkish journalist for the Star on grounds he was inciting “people to hatred an enmity” because of his columns which argue Muslim females have the right to wear a headscarf while attending the university. The Constitutional Court is currently hearing a case raised against the ruling Justice and Development Party(AKP) on grounds it is fostering the Muslim religion by acts such as allowing women to wear the headscarf.

On June 5, 2008, nine of the 11 members of the Constitutional Court declared illegal Parliament’s decision to end the ban on wearing the headscarf. Mustafa Karaaliogu wrote a column denouncing the decision and arguing in favor of the headscarf. He now stands charged with crimes of “provoking people to commit a crime.”

Karaaliglu wrote the following on June 6: “By canceling legislation that is designed to remove a certain violation of rights and shame and ensure that young women can attend university, the Constitutional Court exceeded its jurisdiction and violated the very law that is its raison d’etre. It trampled not only on the law, but also on the headscarf, which is the heritage of a centuries-old faith.”

It does not matter if one agrees or disagrees with the journalist, his comments were valid expression of a viewpoint and in no way incited violence or fostered hate.

Turkey’s High Court To Hear Closure Case

After close to five hours of intense deliberations, the eleven judges of Turkey’s Constitutional Court decided in a rare unanimous ruling to take up the case for closing down the Justice and Development Party(AKP) and banning the prime minister and dozens of lawmakers from politics. The chief prosecutor who led the fight to close down the AKP claims it is a focal point for anti-secular activities. Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Prosecutor Abdurrahman Yllcinkaya, requested closing down the political party and imposing a ban on 71 of its tp leaders which would prevent them from being involved in politics for five years.

In his indictment the Public Prosecutor charged: “All actions and rhetoric of the party is aimed at establishing an Islamic society in which Islamic rules and values have priority… and then carrying out legal arrangements to move towad Shariah.” The AKP has four weeks to offer its initial defense against the charges.

This blog opposes all forms of Islamic extremism as we oppose all those seeking to deny democratic rights in a nation. The people of Turkey have elected the AKP as their governing body and, as of this date, there has been no effort on the part of its leaders to move toward imposing Shariah law other than seeking to end the ban on wearing the headscarf in universities. The act of declaring a political party guilty on the basis of speech rather than actions raises issues of the meaning of democracy.