Turkish Lawmakers End Ban on Head Scarves in Universities

Turkish Lawmakers End Ban on Head Scarves in Universities

The Turkish parliament endorsed, with a majority of 403 votes vs. 107 votes, two constitutional amendments that practically allow Turkish women to wear the head scarf in universities.

 The first amendment stipulates that state services treat all Turkish citizens as equals. The second amendment stipulates giving an equal opportunity to the right of education.

Both amendments practically mean ending the ban imposed on wearing head scarves for women in Turkish universities, giving them the right to have a university education.

However, the ban will be imposed on the veil that covers the neck and the Burkue that covers some or all the face.

A strict ban on wearing headscarves has been imposed inside Turkish universities since 1980 in the wake of a military coup.

While the parliament session was held, thousands of persons opposing lifting the ba on wearing headscarves staged demonstrations, a few kilometers away from the parliament building in the capital Ankara .

In the first round of voting held last Wednesday, the Turkish parliament endorsed both amendments with a majority of 401 votes vs. 110.

Both amendments, submitted by the ruling Justice and Development party along with the National Movement party, triggered so much debate in Turkish society and political circles. While government says that the currently applied secularism denies veiled women the right to receive university education.

For their part, the secularists see that the veil is a threat to the Turkey “s secular system and Ataturk”s principles. They see also that lifting this ban may turn Turkey to a country similar to Iran .

Sources close to the Justice and Development party (AK) see that secular authorities use the Islam boogeyman to maintain their control over state bodies and to keep their personal interests.

Analysts see that the agreement between the AK party and the ultra-patriotic National Movement party came in response to the former”s popular grassroots who want to lift the ban on head scarves specially that most of the party”s female supporters are Islamic middle class women.

A huge part of the National Party grassroots are conservative Islamic ordinary people, businessmen and countryside people whose women are mostly wearing the veil.
Most Turkey “s population are Muslims and two thirds of them wear the head scarf. This meant them thousands of them have been denied the right to receive education according to a ban which many Turkish see as unfair.