Turkey: Turkish MPs plan reform of headscarf ban
"Solving the headscarf issue would relax a large segment of the society," MHP leader Devlet Bahceli was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency. "It is a question of rights and freedoms," he added.
The reforms are a compromise though, our correspondent says. The proposed changes state that only traditional scarves will be permitted in universities, tied loosely under the chin. Headscarves that cover the neck, like those worn by many Turkish girls, will still be banned, as will the all-covering burka, or chador.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stressed that this reform will be restricted to universities. It will not apply to women civil servants, including teachers, who are still banned from covering their heads. A power struggle last year between secular forces and the governing AK Party ended with the AKP being comprehensively re-elected in July.
Opinion polls suggest there is strong public support for lifting the ban. And some women refuse to go to university because of it.
30 January 2008
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