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Old 07-27-2005, 05:08 AM   #1
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Turkey appoints first woman chief judge

I know that this isnt exactly big news globally, but I thought this would interest some of you. I've been waiting for this to resolve for the last couple of weeks, and finally, the highest official in the Turkish judiciary is elected, chief justice is a woman, and she is a graduate of my high school! If only we could do the same with the executive branch, cause God know im annoyed by that! I think it provides a good model for the Iraqi judicial system, just hand them over to the women


Turkey's highest court has elected a woman as its chief justice for the first time in its history.

The decision placed a female judge in one of the most powerful institutions in the predominantly Muslim country as it presses for European Union membership.

Tulay Tugcu, 63, is the only women to hold such a top judicial position in the Muslim world.

Tugcu was elected after a 59th round of voting among high court judges, newspapers said. She is expected to hold the position until her retirement in 2007.

Tugcu is regarded as a staunch secularist and will join a court that, with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and the military, is considered a pillar of the country's secular establishment.

The Supreme Court has the power to annul legislation, shut down political parties and prosecute officials in high office.

In a speech shortly after her election, Tugcu vowed to uphold Turkey's secular laws.

"The court will press ahead with its work by staying loyal to Ataturk's principles, to democracy and to the state governed by secular laws," the Milliyet newspaper quoted Tugcu as saying.

She was referring to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the modern, secular republic. His adopted daughter, Sabiha Gokcen, was Turkey's first fighter pilot.

"I was elected with the votes of male colleagues. This shows how egalitarian, secular and democratic Constitutional Court judges are," she was quoted as saying.

Newspapers rejoiced at Tugcu's appointment.

"A proud day for Turkish women," headlined Milliyet. "High Court in the hands of a woman," the daily Radikal said.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose party has roots in the Islamic movement, but who has made membership in the EU a top priority, sent Tugcu a congratulatory telegram, the Anatolia news agency reported.

Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc, a member of Erdogan's party, said Tugcu's appointment would "reflect feminine sensitivity and grace in the judiciary".

As a member of the Supreme Court, Tugcu voted in favour of shutting down the pro-Islamic party of former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, who was pressured out of power in 1997 by the military.

Tugcu replaces Mustafa Bumin, who retired last month.

The EU has been pressuring Turkey to improve women's rights in the country, where honour killings and domestic violence are not uncommon.

Although Tugcu is not the first woman to hold high office in Turkey - Tansu Ciller became Turkey's first prime minister in 1993 - few women manage to make inroads in high office.

There are currently only 24 women in Turkey's 550 seat parliament, which is dominated by the Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party.

The only female minister in the Cabinet, Nimet Cubukcu, is in charge of family affairs.

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Old 07-27-2005, 05:20 AM   #2
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This is fantastic. Way to go Turkey!

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Old 07-27-2005, 05:22 AM   #3
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Wow, awesome news!
and you hunger for the time
time to heal, desire, time

Join Amnesty.
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Old 07-27-2005, 07:58 AM   #4
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thanks for posting this. i'm a news junkie but didn't hear this story.

go turkey!

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