Edition 86 - June 2008

Headscarves keep haunting Turkey

As we reported in the February edition of ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, on February 9, the Turkish Parliament voted the end of the headscarf ban. But this was not the end of the matter as the question was taken over by Turkey’s highest legislative powers. On June 5, Turkey’s Constitutional Court decided to cancel the constitutional amendment that would have allowed women to wear headscarves at universities with a vote of nine to two.

The court had already in the past overruled all initiatives that would have allowed women to wear headscarves in Higher Education institutions, but the latest amendment was the first one to gain considerable support in the Parliament. Polls show that the majority of the Turks also support the lifting of the headscarf ban. Turkish law experts have already stressed this to be “not a legal decision but a political one”.

Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, Holly Carter, criticises the decision heavily as it “means that women who choose to wear a headscarf in Turkey will be forced to choose between their religion and their education”.

Human Rights Watch
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