Murder in the Turkish Court
Violent Religious Fundamentalism in Turkey, Politics and Religion in Turkey,
Turkish Religious Zealot Kills Turkish Judge, Turkish Court Murder, Turkish Judge Shot Dead

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Steering Clear of Politics and Religion, this time...

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Practicing what we preach --
when there's 'Murder in the Court'

At 10 am (local time) on 17 May 2006, Alparslan Arslan, a 29-year-old lawyer (with a history of religious fundamentalism) who was carrying a Glock-brand handgun, walked past security guards at one of the main office buildings of the highest Administrative Turkish court in the land, the Daniştay (Council of State). He proceeded to the very office where 6 Council Judges were meeting, burst into the room and, declaring himself a "Soldier of God" (on a mission to punish the judges for their ruling 3 months earlier that banned turban wearing by state-school teachers), he began shooting -- wounding all 6 justices, including 2 women. He shot one of the judges, 64-year-old Mustafa Yücel Özbilgin, in the head and when Judge Özbilgin died later in hospital following an unsuccessful brain operation, it assured a murder charge for Arslan.

Two weeks ago (see our blog for 8 May 2006, "Travel Tips for Insiders") we advised that you "not talk about religion, politics... at this particular time. Whichever side you support might be the opposite side of the person you're talking to, or the person who overhears the conversation."

In keeping with that sound advice, we'll end our observations about this disturbing event right here. In this instance, the event's political and fundamental religious overtones are far too sensitive for us to discuss in such a very public 'place' as this...

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For the sake of 'balanced reporting' it would be useful also to have access to the website of Vakit Gazetesi (the main advocate of the fundamental religious viewpoint for this story). Unfortunately that site (at has been 'out of order' since the murderous shooting spree -- only displaying the 'Notice' you see above-right...


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