Woman arrested after pulling off headscarf of student on public bus in Istanbul
ISTANBULA court in Istanbul on Feb. 14 arrested a woman on charges of “preventing freedom of belief” after a complaint was filed against her on accusations that she attacked a young woman on a public bus and tried to remove her headscarf.
Ayhan Almila Kursar was arrested after video footage emerged appearing to show her attacking the victim and pulling off her headscarf on a public bus on Istanbul’s Anatolian side. Kursar is also accused of kicking the victim while the latter was trying to get her headscarf back.
Upon the incident, the driver took the bus to a police station.
In her testimony Kursar said she had been receiving treatment for depression and alleged that the victim was the one who attacked first.
“I am respectful to everybody’s belief … I did not curse her. I tried to pull her hair to defend myself and her headscarf came off in my hand. Though I admit saying ‘you should die’ at that moment,” she reportedly said.
Kursar also told prosecutors that she was sitting on the seat behind the victim and heard her saying to a woman sitting next to her that she had worn a headscarf to get spot at university as a student.
“Maybe I shouldn’t have gotten involved in their conversation at all. But with the impact of my psychological condition, I told her she should wear [a headscarf] if she believes it and not to wear [a headscarf] if she doesn’t believe it. In response she started to yell and hit me. To defend myself I raised my hand and her headscarf came off in my hand. I am very regretful and I would like a reconciliation,” she added.
The victim, meanwhile, told police she was attacked purely because she wore a headscarf.
“But another person elsewhere could be targeted for not wearing a headscarf. So let’s stop this hatred,” she said.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said he would visit the victim at her home.
“Nobody should dare get involved in others’ clothing styles. Everybody should be able to walk on the streets of this country freely,” said Kılıçdaroğlu.