Breaking taboos inankara: deputy with headscarf in parliament

Breaking taboos inankara: deputy with headscarf in parliament

The last time the deputy merve kavakci appeared in parliament in ankara wearing a headscarf was in 1999. It had triggered a scandal. It was deprived of its turkish citizenship and its seat in parliament.

Prime minister recep tayyip erdogan overturned the ban on headscarves in public service only at the end of last month. Only women in the security forces and the judiciary are still prohibited from wearing the headscarf. Some sacular turks see the wearing of the garment as an expression of sympathy for islamism. From the ranks of liberal turks, however, it is also argued that women should decide for themselves whether or not to wear headscarves.

Erdogan’s AKP voted in favor of the deputy wearing the headscarf. Criticism came from the main opposition party, the republican people’s party (CHP). With AKP’s overwhelming majority, women need not fear negative consequences. Erdogan had said there was nothing to stop him wearing a headscarf in parliament. The pro-government news agency anadolu headlined: "a historic moment in parliament."

The plans of the female parliamentarians have been making headlines in turkey for days now. The delegates had given as reason for the step that a pilgrimage to mecca had inspired them to do so. The headscarf continues to cause controversy in the country. Female students have only been allowed to wear headscarves on university campuses since 2010. Critics accuse erdogan of wanting to undermine the legacy of the secular republic’s founder mustafa kemal ataturk and creep toward islamization of turkey.

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