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Turkish MPs Push for Headscarves in Universities

ICC Note

Turkey is moving towards allowing wearing by female students of headscarf at Universities. With growth of Turkish nationalism there has been increase in attacks against Christians in the country too.

January 30, 2008 Turkey (The Media Line)-Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) submitted a bill to the Turkish parliament Tuesday calling to allow female students to wear headscarves in the universities. The bill includes amendments to the constitution and the Higher Education Law, the Turkish daily Zaman reported.

According to the bill, wearing a headscarf is defined as “covering the head with a headscarf fixed beneath the chin without covering the face so as to allow easy recognition of identity.” The term headscarf (başörtüsü) is used while the term veil (türban) is omitted.

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The Turkish opposition slammed the bill, stating it would lead to dire consequences.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal, speaking at his party’s parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday, lambasted the bill. Baykal warned that the freedom to wear the headscarf would not remain limited to universities.

If “they can cover their heads at universities and at colleges why shouldn’t 17-year-old high school students do the same? If you lift the ban on the headscarf, it will be impossible to leave the ban in place in high schools,” Baykal said.

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