A new study of Turkish women done by Tarhan Erdem for Millyet shows only a minor rise during the past four years in the number of women who have decided to adopt traditional Muslim head covering. After the religiously conservative Justice an Development Party assumed power, many secular critics warned it would lead to pressure being exerted on secular Muslim women causing them to adopt some form of head covering. The latest figures indicate only a 5% rise in recent years. However, there has ben a 16% rise in the number of Muslim women who are discarding the chador in favor of wearing a turban. According to M.S. Birand, writing in The Turkish Daily News, it simply means “the young prefer the turban to the chador” which indicates it is an example of “fashionable modernization” and has as much significance as women switching from long skirts to mini-skirts. As he notes, “I see no reason to lament over the fact.”
These figures refute hysterical claims by critics of the Justice And Development Party who accused their leaders of attempting to impose strict sharia law upon the Turkish population. At worse, it has led to wearing a turban.