Turkey brings backs headscarves

Updated on Feb 07, 2008 11:06 PM IST

While in most of the Muslim world, headscarf wearing is mandatory for women when they appear in public, predominantly Muslim Turkey had banned the practice decades ago.

HT Image
HT Image
AP | BySuzan Fraser, Ankara

While in most of the Muslim world, headscarf wearing is mandatory for women when they appear in public, predominantly Muslim Turkey had banned the practice decades ago. Turkish lawmakers have, however, now voted to approve a constitutional amendment to allow female students to enter universities wearing these scarves.

The issue symbolises the divide between the Islamic-oriented government and the military-backed secular establishment. The lawmakers voted 401-110 in a preliminary vote in favour of the government's proposed amendment to the secular constitution, which would remove the ban.

The government has the backing of a nationalist opposition party, and together they have more than the two-thirds majority in the 550-seat assembly required to make the change.

The proposal includes the insertion of a paragraph in the constitution stating that "no one can be deprived of (his or her) right to higher education."

A second and final round of voting is slated for Saturday and lawmakers again need to approve the move before it can become law. The head scarf issue is a source of tension in Turkey and has divided the population among those who consider the ban an affront to the religious freedoms of pious Muslims and those who fear removing the ban would erode Turkey's secular education system.

The vast majority of Turkey's 70 million people are Muslim, but they are divided over the role of Islam in politics and daily life. Secularists regard the head covering as a political statement and argue it has no place in schools. They also fear that lifting the ban at universities would pressure all female students to cover themselves up.

On Wednesday, around 200 leftists gathered near the parliament building to protest the government's proposal as the Parliament convened. Hundreds of riot police, reinforced by armored vehicles, set up barricades to prevent them from marching to parliament. "We won't allow the head scarf!" and "Down with the AKP!" the group chanted in reference to the acronym of the ruling party. More than 125,000 people — mostly women —marched in Ankara over the weekend to denounce plans to lift the ban.

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Monkeypox can spread by touching objects that have been contaminated by the disease's fluids or lesions as well as direct physical contact with the lesions.

    Monkeypox virus can stay on computer mouse, coffee machine for days: CDC study

    A new study on monkeypox by the US disease control body CDC now suggests that the virus can linger on many common household objects for several days despite regular disinfecting. For this study, a home shared by two monkeypox patients was taken up. Researchers found the virus in 70 per cent of high-contact areas 20 days after their symptoms began. These included couches, blankets, a coffee machine, computer mouse and the light switch.

  • The path of flight ET343 over Addis Ababa, as recorded by Flightradar24. When the plane overflew the runway, the autopilot disconnected, triggering an alarm, which finally woke the pilots, who then turned the plane around. (Courtesy: flightradar24)

    Ethiopian Airlines pilots fall asleep on flight, miss landing

    New Delhi: Pilots of an aircraft of Ethiopian Airlines fell asleep mid-air and missed landing at Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, commercial aviation news website Aviation Herald reported late on Thursday. The pilots were later suspended pending an investigation, according to news agency Bloomberg. The incident reportedly took place on Monday when the aircraft was flying from Sudan's Khartoum and was supposed to land at Bole Airport in Addis Ababa.

  • Michael Gove in a file photo. (Reuters)

    Ex-UK minister Michael Gove backs Rishi Sunak for next PM

    Former British cabinet minister Michael Gove on Friday endorsed Rishi Sunak for prime minister and announced an end of his frontline political career, he said in an op-ed in The Times. Gove wrote in the op-ed that he thinks Liz Truss' campaign for 10 Downing Street "has been a holiday from reality." Sunak has the right arguments as they come from his experience of being the chancellor during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gove added.

  • FILE - Armed al-Shabab fighters ride on pickup trucks as they prepare to travel into the city, just outside the capital Mogadishu, Somalia, Dec. 8, 2008.. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh, File)

    Al-Shabaab attacks hotel in Somalia's Mogadishu, casualties reported

    Al-Shabaab fighters attacked a hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu in a hail of gunfire and explosions on Friday, with casualties reported, security sources and witnesses said. The assault on the Hayat Hotel triggered a fierce gunfight between security forces and gunmen from the jihadist group who are still holed up inside the building, security official Abdukadir Hassan told AFP.

  • Sweden shopping centre shooting: Two injured, one arrested. (Getty Images)

    Sweden shopping centre shooting: Two injured, one arrested

    Swedish police said on Friday two people were injured in a shooting at the Emporia shopping centre in the southern city of Malmo and one suspect has been arrested. Read: Shooting selection policy set for a tweak again The police are on the scene questioning witnesses and going through material from surveillance cameras. Earlier, police said they had cordoned off the area and asked the public to avoid going to the shopping centre.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, August 20, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now