World Bulletin / News Desk
An İzmir court has handed down a prison sentence to a Turkish professor from Ege University after he repeatedly blocked headscarved women from entering the faculty building where he worked.
The court accused the professor of infringing on citizens' constitutional right of access to education and sentenced him to over two years in prison.
The professor, Esat Rennan Pekünlü, from the university's department of astronomy and space sciences, was caught on camera in May taking photographs of headscarved students and preventing them from entering the building.
The Higher Education Board (YÖK) lifted a ban on the wearing of the Muslim headscarf on university campuses in 2010. However, some universities continue to impose the notorious ban. Opponents of the ban, including conservatives and many liberal intellectuals, think that such a ban contravenes fundamental rights as it deprives some citizens of their right to education.
Pekünlü was captured by cameramen of the Cihan news agency while he was standing at the door of his faculty building and taking photos of headscarved students. Cameramen had arrived at the faculty after some students tipped them off that the professor was violating the rights of women wearing headscarves at their university.
Pekünlü repeatedly blocked those students from entering the building when they tried to attend their classes. He would, however, pay no attention to male students or female students who were not wearing headscarves.
The Ege University administration had earlier announced that an investigation had been launched into the professor's actions. In October 2010, YÖK sent a circular to university administrations, asking them not to send students away from class or campus for wearing the headscarf.
The İzmir 4th Criminal Court of First Instance charged the professor with violating the privacy of the Fatma Nur Gidal -- one of the women he prevented from entering the building and the plaintiff in the case -- as well as violating her right to access to education.
Gidal's lawyer demanded the maximum prison sentence for the professor and asked the court not to postpone the punishment, as he had previously been charged with similar crimes.
Pekünlü's lawyer cited a 2008 decision by Turkey's Constitutional Court upholding headscarf bans in universities, as well as a 2004 ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) that said such bans do not violate freedom of religion.
Speaking following the decision, Gidal said she was not able to enter the building, let alone the classrooms. She said she had no choice but to file the complaint against her professor.
'All conditions have been fulfilled for an extradition. We now wait for the extradition,' says justice minister
16 policemen killed, 13 others injured in Friday's clash southwest of Cairo, according to Egypt's interior ministry
Turkey, Russia agreed to remove all trade restrictions, both countries' ministers say
Turkish security forces used drones to locate terrorists in rural area of Hakkari province
If America issues arrest warrants for my bodyguards, I will not say that country is civilized, Turkish president says
Turkish president criticizes Donald Trump's policy regarding Muslims
Central government's gross debt stock climbs 2.68 pct last month compared to August, says Treasury
Airstrikes were carried out in Bingol province, military says
Turkish, Russian leaders agree to cooperate closely on regional issues in phone call
39 former police officers were remanded in custody in Ankara
Resat Petek says international organizations should attend cases relating to coup attempt
Foreign Ministry source denies claims that embassies of several European countries have stopped giving visas to Turks
Portuguese FM Silva says Joint Economic, Trade Commission meeting to take place in Lisbon, calls for boosting trade volume
Turkey-Russia parliamentary friendship group head Recai Berber says Russia is not Turkey's rival but partner
Over 5,000 new businesses started in September, a 36 pct year-on-year rise
Turkey’s economic influence is bigger than other member countries, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif says