The Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation into a former Republican People's Party (CHP) lawmaker for inciting public hatred following the ex-official's recent anti-headscarf comments, reports said Monday
The remarks were made during a TV appearance by ex-main opposition deputy Fikri Sağlar, who claimed that wearing a headscarf affects the impartiality of judges.
“I have suspicions about the judge’s justice when I appear before a turban-wearing judge. Some of them have a rather militant and ideological stance, this must be fought,” Sağlar said during the broadcast, referring to a type of headscarf long-associated with conservative-Islamist Turkish political circles.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) harshly criticized Sağlar’s remarks. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan slammed Sağlar for not living in the 21st century, describing his words as a “reflection of CHP’s fascist ideology.” He added that the CHP was exploiting its headscarf-wearing members, masquerading as a friendly party. Party spokesperson Ömer Çelik also criticized Sağlar’s remarks, saying that the CHP’s ideology when it comes to the headscarf has not changed. Meanwhile, AK Party Deputy Chairperson Mahir Ünal also denounced Sağlar’s statements, calling out the party over recent reports of sexual harassment, assault and other scandals involving women.
While CHP chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu condemned Sağlar's remarks, Sağlar said that he still defends his arguments.
Headscarves were previously banned by law, but the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) changed the regulation on June 1, 2015, allowing female judges wearing headscarves to conduct hearings.
Turkish headscarf-wearing women have long struggled under laws that prevented them from wearing headscarves at schools as students and in public institutions as professionals, despite the prevalence of headscarf-wearing women in the country.