Islamic gunman injures 5 judges in Turkish court

A gunman stormed into a meeting at Turkey's highest administrative court and opened fire, wounding five judges.

india Updated: May 17, 2006 16:46 IST

A gunman stormed into a meeting at Turkey's highest administrative court on Wednesday and opened fire, wounding five judges, the governor's office said.

The attacker, a lawyer who was detained and was being interrogated by police, reportedly chanted "God is Great!" as he fired his weapon, private NTV television reported, citing witnesses.

One of the injured judges, Mustafa Birden, had been criticised for a February decision barring the promotion of a teacher who wore an Islamic-style head scarf outside of work. The decision was condemned by the Islamic-rooted government.

Birden was critically wounded in the stomach and was being operated on, TGR television said. Another judge, who was hit in the neck, was also undergoing surgery.

The governor's office said two of the five judges who were wounded were in critical condition, but did not identify them.

Some 99 per cent of Turks are Muslims. The country's secular establishment, however, which includes the courts and the military, has sought for decades to restrict Islamic influence, which some political leaders view as an obstacle to Western-style modernisation.

Under Turkish law, women are not allowed to enter schools or other public buildings wearing head scarves. Wives of ministers are excluded from government functions and formal state dinners if they wear head scarves.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's wife, Emine, wears a head scarf and his ruling Justice and Development Party has made no secret of its desire to lift the ban.

First Published: May 17, 2006 16:46 IST