World Bulletin/News Desk
A judge who previously postponed a trial citing the presence of headscarved lawyer Zübeyde Kamalak at a court hearing allowed the lawyer to attend the session on Thursday.
Kamalak, the wife of Felicity Party (SP) Chairman Mustafa Kamalak, attended the hearing on March 28 on behalf of her client in a divorce case at the Ankara 2nd Family Court, but the judge, İlhan Kadıoğlu, ruled to postpone the trial, saying that lawyers cannot attend hearings with their headscarves on while actively practicing law, which he said is a public service.
The judge's move came in defiance of a January ruling by the Council of State suspending the application of an article from the code of practice of the Turkish Bar Association (TBB) that bans female lawyers from wearing headscarves while practicing their profession.
Kamalak reminded the judge of the Council of State ruling, but he nevertheless ended the court hearing, refusing to abide by the decision.
However, the judge did not prevent Kamalak from attending a court session at the Ankara 2nd Family Court on Thursday. The lawyer, on the other hand, recalled Kadıoğlu's treatment of her at the previous hearing and submitted a petition demanding the judge recuse himself, citing that she did not believe that Kadıoğlu would act and decide impartially due to his attitude towards Kamalak.
The judge, however, rejected the demand. Kamalak's client also said he believed the judge made the right decision, expressing his confidence in Kadıoğlu's impartiality.
Commenting on the change in the judge's attitude, Kamalak told reporters following the court hearing that she wishes that the headscarf ban is removed once and for all. The headscarf ban issue needs to be removed from Turkey's agenda, she noted.
The wearing of the Islamic headscarf has long been a matter of contention in Turkey. A headscarf ban applies to certain public and government offices and locations in Turkey. The ban affects university students as well as those working in the public sector.
The headscarf ban in universities was eased after the Higher Education Board (YÖK) sent a circular to universities in 2010 asking them to allow headscarved students. Yet there are still some universities and professors who insist on implementing the ban.