Tales Of Turkish Muslim Women And Headscarfs

A common belief of Turkish political leaders of the Justice and Development Party(AKP) is that Turkish women make the decision to wear a headscarf on their own because they believe it is somehow connected to being modest and behaving like a good Muslim woman. The Turkish Daily News recently provided stories behind how wives of prominent members of the AKP decided to wear a headscarf.

Prime Minister Erdogan’s wife was a romantic teenager who enjoyed a typical teenage girl’s life until her brother brought the news. “I even thought of committing suicide when my brother told me that I should wear a headscarf. How could I be covered? We had no acquaintances in our circle(who wore headscarfs).” After she married she became a housewife and wore the headscarf.

Hayrunnisa Gul, wife of the president of Turkey. She was engaged at 14 and married at 15. The day she married was the first day she wore a headscarf.

Zeyne Babacan, wife of the foreign minister. She was a student at the university when she got into an arranged marriage. After being married, she gave up the university, became a housewife and put on the headscarf.

Somehow, these stories indicate evidence of arranged marriages and women giving up careers in order to please husbands and only after marriage finally deciding to wear the headscarf. This is hardly evidence of a strong desire on the part of Turkish women to wear the headscarf. It merely reflects that husbands make decisions and wives obey them.