17 April 2014, Thursday
Today's Zaman

57 women join hands to call for freedom to wear headscarves

2 July 2013, Tuesday /TODAY'S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL
Fifty-seven women, including journalists, artists, academics and politicians who don't wear headscarves, have created a petition calling for the complete freedom to wear a headscarf in Turkey.

The petition, titled “End injustice: We want a solution, not postponement!,” says: “The biggest victims of the politics that marked Turkey's last 20 years on the Muslim-secular axis have always been women. We oppose every kind of practice that creates inequality for women who wear headscarves. We demand the removal of all legal and non-legal obstacles that impede headscarved women's employment in the public sector and election into general and local offices. We don't make any distinction between those receiving a public service and those offering one.”

Some circles claim that if a woman wears a headscarf while providing a public service, this could cast a shadow over her impartiality. So a headscarf ban should remain for those providing public services.

The petition calls on all political parties inside and outside Parliament to take immediate and unconditional action in order to change legislation that prevents headscarved women from enjoying their rights.

Immediately after it was posted online, the petition received more than 2,000 signatures.

Journalists Amberin Zaman, Balçiçek İlter, Pınar Öğünç, Hale Gönültaş; sociologist Nilüfer Göle; and academics Yasemin İnceoğlu, Hale Akay and Yeşim Burul are among the signatories of the petition.

Turkey's ban on headscarves dates back to the 1980s. After the 1980 coup d'état, a regulation clearly defined the permissible clothing and appearance of staff working in state offices, including the stipulation that the hair of civil servants must be uncovered. Women who wear headscarves were then denied the right to be employed by the state.

The ban was significantly tightened after Feb. 28, 1997, when the military ousted a government it deemed too religious. Currently, state offices do not hire women who wear a headscarf. Covered women are also denied employment at most private companies despite the fact that there is no law that prohibits the wearing of a headscarf in private businesses. Nor are headscarved women elected to Parliament. A ban on headscarves imposed for many years on university campuses was only removed in 2010.

In remarks to the Radikal daily on Tuesday, İnceoğlu said she signed the petition because she believes headscarved women have always been the victims of discrimination and alienation.

“I signed the petition not only to remove obstacles in front of women who the government addresses as ‘my headscarved citizens,' but also for their representation in politics,” she said.

@Kinneddar is making excellent point. Why Muslim women are not protesting forcing burqa and headscarf on women? In countries like Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan etc. it is being compulsory.
The headscarf is a statement affirming political Islam, but nonetheless there should be no restrictions on wearing it. I'm sure that once this absolute freedom of clothing choice is granted to Turkish women they will join together to vociferously protest the forced head covering often violently impo...
Headscarf, along with the top to bottom clothing that goes with it, is not a social statement; it is a religious statement. It without ambiguity says; "I am a Muslim to the core" in a supposedly secular country. It is a cop out to totally dismiss the wisdom in the laws of the past for the sake of po...
I am an expat living in Turkey for the last 13 years, I think it is shocking that women do not have the right to choose whether they can wear a headscarf or not.It is up to each women to choose for themselves. My sister-in-law works in a County council office she must take off her scarf before enter...
I agree with these women. How naïve was the state to impose such a ban woman as if the outer clothing of a person reflects their religious and political view, so putting a ban on woman, how did they stop the men, they didn't. Even worse is the people for excepting such arguments, if anything, they s...
Of course. I 100% agree. Every person should have the right to wear what they want. Headscarf or no headscarf, trousers or miniskirt. It is the persons choice.
Click here to read all user comments
NATIONAL  Other Titles
PM avoids suing critics of corruption out of fear ‘truth may come out'
AK Party deputies pass MİT law article-by-article despite warnings
Ministerial bureaucrats purged after being profiled by MİT
Chief ombudsman laments low implementation of KDK recommendations
Purges in police force leading to higher crime rate
AK Party government punishing reassigned police officers
Commemorations for former President Özal, supporter of Turkish schools abroad
Gag order on case file in Yazıcıoğlu's death lifted
Legal complaint issued over Mazhar Bağlı’s hate speech
'Banning social media disaster for any government's global image'
Armenian Akdamar church restoration nears completion
Turkey's Gül says candidacy in presidential election not yet settled
Nana Zeyini dies at age of 120
92,000 die of cancer each year in Turkey
Four-year-old dies after being found with slit throat, wrist
Report: Naval command allegedly profiles personnel
Ruling AK Party to determine presidential candidate toward end of May
Probe launched into Afyonkarahisar explosion on suspicion of terrorism
American journalism school offers free online training in Turkish
Erdoğan threatens judges, prosecutors in party group speech
Opposition leaders say PM turning Turkey into intelligence state
Opposition CHP leader likens Erdoğan to Hitler, Mussolini
Nearly 90 police officials purged in southeast Turkey
Nearly 280 police officers reassigned in four provinces
Twitter executives meet with Turkey's President Gül