"Secular Turkey" Updates


Turkey: Journalist told murderers of Christians that they wouldn’t be prosecuted

Islamization of Turkey Alert: “Turkey: Suspect In Malatya Murders Expected State Support,” from Compass Direct, 

MALATYA, Turkey, October 21 (Compass Direct News) – Lawyers and judges in the case of three Christians murdered here in April 2007 are continuing to investigate whether the attack was masterminded by troubled youths or shadowy elements of the Turkish state.

* We will never know the whole truth on this one…/ed  continued

Turkish court defends quashing Muslim scarf reform

By Ibon Villelabeitia


The Islamization of Turkey is unstoppable
ANKARA – Lifting a ban on women wearing the Muslim headscarf at university violates Turkey’s secular constitution, the country’s top court said on Wednesday, defending a decision against the ruling AK Party.In a legal reasoning that appeared to end any hope for the Islamist-rooted AK Party to revive the sensitive headscarf issue, the Constitutional Court said that while wearing a headscarf was ‘an individual choice and a freedom’, lifting the ban was ‘openly against the principles of secularism’.Continues next page  

The Constitutional Court, a bastion of Turkey’s secular founding principles, overturned in June a constitutional amendment sponsored by the AK Party to lift the restriction, but only issued its long-awaited reasoning on Wednesday.

The AK Party, which denies accusations by secularist opponents of harbouring an Islamist agenda, said it would respect the constitution. It had first reacted angrily to the ruling, accusing the court of violating the constitution.

‘We do not have any intention of undermining the republic’s essential principles,’ Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin said.

The headscarf issue is one of the most highly charged in Turkey, a predominantly Sunni Muslim country with a secular constitution, and has long been a source of political instability in the European Union applicant.

Foreign investors, already dumping emerging markets assets due to the global financial crisis, are monitoring signs of political instability that could delay market-friendly reforms.

The AK Party, which has its roots in political Islam, sees it as a question of religious freedom, while securalists see it as proof the government wants to impose sharia law by stealth. The party repeatedly denies those charges.

The AK Party, which has a huge majority in parliament, passed the amendment earlier this year, angering a secularist establishment of judges and army generals.

Another attempt to lift the headscarf ban would require a constitutional reform and broad social consensus, an unlikely event in a country deeply polarised over the role of Islam.

‘The amendments in articles 10 and 42 are openly against the principle of secularism because procedurally they mean using religion as a tool in politics, and breach other people’s rights and cause public disorder by content,’ the court said.

The headscarf reform was seen as a catalyst for a separate case, in which the same court narrowly voted in July not to close the AK Party on charges of Islamist activities. The court is expected to issue the reasoning of that case this week.

Cengiz Aktar, a professor at Istanbul’s Bahcesehir University, said the court’s reasoning ends any hope of bringing the headscarf issue back until a new constitution is written.

‘This ruling not only ends the headscarf debate, but also any attempt to reform the constitution and the secularist regime,’ Aktar said.



Continued, Turkey: Journalist told murderers of Christians that they wouldn’t be prosecuted

Plaintiff attorneys believe the first witness at the hearing on Thursday (Oct. 16), local journalist Varol Bulent Aral, incited the suspected ringleader of the attacks to murder by convincing him foreign missionaries were connected to the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), a domestic outlawed terrorist organization. The suspected ringleader, Emre Gunaydin, testified that Aral promised him state immunity for the planned attacks.

Two Turkish Christians, Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel, and a German, Tilmann Geske, were brutally tortured and killed at a publishing house in this southeastern city on April 18, 2007.

Gunaydin, along with Salih Gürler, Cuma Ozdemir, Hamit Ceker and Abuzer Yildirim, who have been in jail for the past 18 months, are accused of the murder. They are all between 19 and 21 years old.

The court subpoenaed Aral for the last four hearings, but he failed to show at each one. The 32-year-old testified at Thursday’s hearing at Malatya Third Criminal Court under police custody since he was arrested on Oct. 2 for carrying a false ID.

Gunaydin said during the hearing that Aral had promised him state protection for the murders.

“He had promised me state support,” he said. “[Aral] should explain this to the court.”…

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