Opposition TV station fined over ex-minister's remarks on Islamic headscarf

Turkey’s broadcasting watchdog has imposed a fine on opposition channel Halk TV over remarks by a former minister on the station questioning the competency of judges wearing the Islamic headscarf.

The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) has levelled the regulatory fine over comments made by former Culture Minister Fikri Sağlar on Halk TV on Dec. 10, Diken news site reported on Wednesday.

The former Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker said that he could not “trust that head-scarved judge would give him a fair trial,’’ while commenting on what he said had become the political nature of the Islamic head covering under Turkey’s Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) rule. 

Sağlar also highlighted he had criticised AKP making the Turkish judiciary a “militant’’ organisation.

RTÜK maintains Halk TV violated the law by allowing the former minister to insult the religious values held by Turkey’s majority and failing to warn Sağlar during the programme.

On Jan. 4, the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation into Sağlar’s remarks, citing his violation of Article 216 of the Turkish Penal Code on "inciting groups of the population to breed enmity or hatred towards one another.’'