|“Thank God Almighty,” said Mr. Erdogan in 1994, when he was the mayor of Istanbul. “I am a servant of Shariah.”|
Taking down 'Ataturk's legacy' - Turkey’s top court rules security cannot ask covered women to remove coat. (BGNews).
Turkey’s Constitutional Court has ruled that asking headscarved women to take off their topcoats while entering a public legal institution is a violation of religious freedom.
Esma Nur Özbey filed a lawsuit after she was denied access to Istanbul’s Bakırköy Courthouse in January 2013 when she refused security guards’ request she take off her topcoat while passing through the electromagnetic security checkpoint. Her attempt to sue the guards on the grounds they had insulted her was rejected by the courts.
Özbey then appealed to the Constitutional Court claiming her religious freedom had been violated. The Constitutional Court ruled unanimously on Monday that Özbey’s freedom of religion and conscience, secured in Article 24 of the constitution, had in fact been violated.
The court noted that wearing a topcoat and her refusal to remove it are practices required by Islam, “There is a direct link between the plaintiff’s religious beliefs and her refusal to take off her clothing. For this reason, there is a need to accept that the applicant’s freedom of religion and conscience was interfered with.”
The ruling also noted that both administrative and legal officials had failed to fully explain why and how security would be jeopardized if Özbey didn’t take off her coat.
The court ruled that the plaintiff receive TRY 3,000 (USD 1,076) in damages for emotional distress.