Turkish speaker slams court headscarf veto

"The principle of the separation of powers has become questionable with this decision," Toptan told a news conference.

Turkish speaker slams court headscarf veto

Turkey's parliament speaker criticised the country's top court on Saturday for annulling a law which removed a ban on headscarves at universities, saying the judges had exceeded their powers.

Late on Thursday the Constitutional Court overturned a reform which would have let students wear the Muslim headscarf in universities, sparking protests from the ruling AK Party.

"The Constitutional Court made a decision about the contents of this law passed by 411 deputies of our parliament even through the constitution clearly states the court can only carry out procedural examinations," Koksal Toptan said.

"The principle of the separation of powers has become questionable with this decision," he told a news conference.

Turkey should discuss drafting a new constitution and establishing a senate in addition to a parliament, Toptan said, and added he planned to call main political party leaders to hold talks on the court's decision.

Toptan was previously an AK Party deputy, though in his current job he is officially neutral. It is a largely ceremonial role, but comes second to the president in protocol.

The headscarf reform has rekindled a decades-long dispute over the role of Islam in a country of 70 million that is officially secular but predominantly Muslim and has yet to reconcile the two sides.

Analysts said the decision increased the chances the AK Party would be closed down for alleged Islamist activities in a separate case at the same court.

The headscarf ruling will play a central role in a separate case that seeks to close the ruling AK Party for anti-secular activities, and ban 71 members, including Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and the president, from belonging to a party for five years.

Turkey has a history of banning political parties and the AK Party's predecessor was banned in 2001 for Islamist activities.

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 07 Haziran 2008, 13:58
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