Turks protest pro-Islamic party government

May 18, 2006 at 9:51 PM
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ANKARA, Turkey, May 18 (UPI) -- More than 20,000 Turkish citizens protested in Ankara Thursday, one day after a lawyer gunned down several judges, killing one and wounding four others.

Alpaslan Arslan, a lawyer, allegedly used a handgun to fire on the judges. Judge Yucel Ozbilgin died Wednesday at Hacettepe Hospital.

Arslan said the attack was in retaliation for the judges' ruling against the promotion of a teacher because she had worn an Islamic headscarf outside of school, CNN reported.

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, outlawed religious dress in public, Jurist reported.

Protesters marched to Ataturk's mausoleum where they shouted for the pro-Islamic Justice and Development Party to resign, BIA News Center reported.

"Turkey is secular and will remain secular," chanted protesters -- who included lawyers, professors, students, members of parliament and retired military officers.

Council of State President Sumru Cortoglu, Constitutional Court President Tukay Tugcu and Court of Appeals President Osman Arslan were among the protesters. They said they would not be swayed from Ataturk's path and principles.

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