Thursday, May 18, 2006

News from Turkey

Somehow I missed this ere now:

Tens of thousands of Turks have turned funeral ceremonies for a judge shot by a suspected Islamist gunman, into a mass show of support for secularism.

They waved Turkish flags and chanted for the country to remain secular on marches through the capital Ankara.

A man calling himself "a soldier of Allah" shot dead Judge Mustafa Yucel Ozbilgin and wounded four others at a top administrative court on Wednesday.

He was immediately arrested. At least three others have since been detained.

The attack is believed to have been linked to the court's record of strictly upholding the ban on Muslim headscarves in universities and government offices.

The government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which has Islamist roots, has been campaigning for the regulations to be relaxed or removed.

However, at the judge's funeral at Ankara's main mosque, many protesters chanted slogans calling for the government to resign, calling cabinet members a threat to the secular republic.

Ministers who attended the service were booed.

Tragic that it takes cold-blooded murder to waken people. Still, as a Westerner, clothing bans seem to be an unfortunate battleground of choice for secular forces, as it was for France. But perhaps there's a different understanding of these things. Anyone have it?