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Turks march to defend secularism

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Turks march to defend secularism


Thousands of Turks have rallied to denounce the killing of a judge and to defend secularism. Crowds gathered outside the mosque in Ankara where the funeral of Mustafa Ozbilgin was taking place. He was shot by a religious gunman angry about a ruling that stopped a woman becoming a teacher because she wore a headscarf.

There is a debate over whether the governing party, which has Islamist roots, had contributed to the tensions behind the incident. “I hope there is no political backdrop to the attack,” one man said outside the mosque. “As the children of Ataturk, we deplore this murder. I am disgusted, and I think the government encourages this kind of thing,” another man fumed. Secularists laid wreaths at the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. The ruling AKP party has strongly condemned the killing, and denied it is indirectly fuelling extremism. It had criticised the slain judge’s decision and called for the headscarf ban to be eased.
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