Turkey lifts ban on headscarves at high schools

2014-09-23 12:46
A Shia Muslim girl. (Chandan Khanna, AFP)

A Shia Muslim girl. (Chandan Khanna, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Ankara - The Turkish government announced it was lifting a ban on female students wearing the Islamic headscarf at high schools, in a move denounced by opponents as undermining the basis of the country's secular society.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who co-founded the ruling Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP), has long been accused by opponents of eroding the secular values of the modern Turkish state.

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc, a close Erdogan ally, said that an amendment was made to the dress code regulations for female students to say they will not be forced to keep their heads uncovered.

"I know that some female students were longing for [this amendment] to high school regulations", Arinc told reporters after the cabinet meeting late on Monday.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu welcomed the amendment as an effort for "democratisation".

"This should not only be seen as the lifting of the ban on the wearing of headscarf", Davutoglu told the private NTV television on Monday.

"There has been an effort for freedoms and democratisation in every sphere."

Kamuran Karaca, head of the Egitim-Sen education union, said that the measures would provoke a "trauma" in Turkey.

"Turkish society is heading back to the Middle Ages through the exploitation of religion", he said.

Last year, Turkey lifted a long-standing ban on women wearing the headscarf in state institutions as part of a package of reforms to bolster freedoms and democracy, which drew the ire of secularists who denounced the move as an attempt to Islamise the staunchly secular country.

Women can already wear the Islamic headscarf, known as the hejab in universities. The wives of most AKP ministers wear the hejab, as does Erdogan's wife Emine.

The founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, based the post-Ottoman republic on a strict separation between religion and state.

Critics accuse Erdogan, who last month moved to the post of president after over a decade as prime minister, of seeking to undermine Ataturk's legacy, charges he denies.

Read more on:    recep tayyip erdogan  |  turkey  |  religion

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.