January 29, 2008 in Nation/World

Secular Turkey lifts scarf ban in universities

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review
 

ISTANBUL, Turkey – Turkey’s ruling party agreed with an opposition party Monday to lift a decades-old ban on Islamic head scarves in universities of the mainly Muslim but secular nation.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party and the Nationalist Action Party said in a statement the two parties agreed to make changes in the constitution and the Higher Education Law to allow female students wearing head scarves into universities.

A constitutional change would need a two-thirds majority in the 550-seat assembly. The two parties have more than enough legislators.

Wearing of head scarves in universities was first banned shortly after a military coup in 1980, but implementation of the ban has varied over the years.

Erdogan, a devout Muslim, vowed to end the ban during his election campaign last summer. He scored a resounding victory against the secularist opposition.

The staunchly secularist Republican People’s Party has repeatedly said lifting the ban would harm the nation’s secular traditions.


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email