World Bulletin / News Desk
A headscarved lawyer, Figen Şaştım, who had filed an appeal with the Council of State for being denied an identity card by the Turkish Bar Association (TBB) after she submitted a photo of herself with a headscarf, said on Thursday that she was threatened by a judge in a trial she attended in her capacity as a lawyer despite the Council of State ruling in her favor.
The Council of State last week ruled to suspend the application of an article from the code of practice of the TBB that bans female lawyers from wearing headscarves while practicing their profession.
The 8th Chamber of the Council of State discussed an appeal filed by Şaştım, who was denied an identity card by the TBB after she submitted a photo of herself with a headscarf. The lawyer asked the court to suspend the implementation of Article 20 of the TBB's “Lawyers' Code of Practice,” which stipulates that lawyers and interns “practice their profession in court in an appearance that would suit the profession and without a headscarf.”
The chamber issued an order to suspend the application of the “without a headscarf” part of the article by a majority of votes on the grounds that the article erroneously regards the profession only as a public service and obliges lawyers to abide by rules that are in place for state employees.
Making a statement in front of the İstanbul Courthouse on Thursday, along with other headscarved lawyers, Şaştım said she attended a court hearing in Üsküdar, İstanbul, on Tuesday but the judge threatened her saying that he would note in his report that the lawyer had attended the hearing with her headscarf on and would send his report to the TBB.
Şaştım said she showed a copy of the Council of State ruling to the judge and told him that her colleagues who wear headscarves have already begun to attend court hearings wearing their headscarves.
“Why have the TBB and some other bars fallen into such an incomprehensible contradiction? There is only one answer to this: ideological concerns. Our rights have been violated through the violation of the laws and the Constitution. Justice and rights are not so worthless that they can be sacrificed to ideology. If you make justice a victim of ideology, justice will not lose any of its value, but your ideology will,” Şaştım said.