Erdogan outbids opposition on Turkey’s headscarf issue
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday outbid the main opposition leader on making the necessary regulations to ensure the legal framework to wear a headscarf in public life, during a speech at the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) meeting in the capital Ankara.
After CHP (Republican People’s Party) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu called for a legal step regarding the women's freedom of wearing a headscarf in public life, Tayyip Erdogan upgraded the freedom. "Let's find a solution at the constitutional level, not an act" he said.
Practicing religious women have long struggled in Turkey under secular laws that prevented them from wearing headscarves at schools and in public institutions including military and judiciary. Young girls wearing wigs in the university gates were an ordinary sight during the 1990s.
But those scenes are long gone since the AKP practically outruled any ban on headscarf during its 20 year tenure. But the deep effects still echo in Turkey’s society so much so that political parties still invest in the issue ahead of next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections.
On Tuesday CHP submitted a bill to the national assembly after CHP leader Kilicdaroglu published a video saying that he aimed to “close the wounds of the country and look at the future with confidence” and said that “It is time to leave this issue behind. We created a statutory framework compatible with universal law principles”
Erdogan, in return, accused the CHP of its previous position against the headscarf and showed videos and documents to support his arguments.
Following the AK Party group meeting, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said that he would start preparations for a draft proposal for constitutional change.