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Turkey Lifts Ban on Headscarves

The Turkish Parliament voted over the weekend to remove the ban on headscarves at universities from the country”s Constitution. According to BBC News, the government argues that the ban made education inaccessible to the two thirds of women in Turkey who wear headscarves. However, protesters that demonstrated against the vote Sunday stated that overturning the ban threatens the secularism of modern Turkey, reports the Washington Post.

The debate over the head scarf ban has been a major point of contention between the secularists in Turkey and the Muslim population. Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, a member of the conservative Justice and Development party, was a major advocate for lifting the ban.

“We say it will damage secularity,” Ural Akbut, rector of Ankara’s prestigious METU University, told the BBC on the lift of the ban. “Once you do that” we believe you damage democracy.”

Under the amended constitution only traditional head scarves, those tied loosely under the chin, will be permitted. The burka and headscarves covering the neck are both still banned.

Sources:

Washington Post 2/10/08; BBC News 2/9/08, 2/11/08

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