Turkey's PM Could Fall Over Headscarves

Attack by 'extreme' secular judges will hopefully fall short
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2008 7:16 PM CDT
Supporters of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party, or AKP, wearing Islamic-style headscarves, leave an election rally.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Turkey's secular judges want to oust the ruling party for its moderate, and popular, stance on religion freedoms, Mustafa Akyol writes in the American. On paper, the judiciary seeks to punish the incumbent AKP party for crimes such as nepotism and corruption. In reality, Akyol writes, the AKP's support for headscarves in Turkish universities is what sparked judicial rage.

More than 400 of Turkey's 511 lawmakers approved amendments to allow the garment, and 80% of Turks agreed. But judges ruled that the move conflicted with “the basic principle of the Republic"—secularism. "If the AKP government is effectively overthrown, many Muslims inside and outside Turkey will sour on the democratic process," Akyol writes. "That would be a horrible outcome. Let’s hope the extreme secularists don’t succeed."