Turkish Women Demonstrate Against Headscarf

More then 100,000 demonstrators flocked to Anitkabir to express their opposition to the government’s headscarf proposal which is tearing apart the Turkish nation. The meeting was led by several women’s organizations which intend to fight new efforts by the Justice and Development Party and the Nationalist Movement Party which have agreed on new wording to the constitution which allows women to wear a headscarf while attending university classes. The demonstration came a few days after a large number of academic and university leaders claimed the change would result in extreme conflict and disorder in universities. The Republic Women’s assocation and the Association in Support of Contemporary Life flocked to the mausoleum of the Republic’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in a symbolic demonstration that drew upon the Ataturk policy of secularism.

There were demonstrations against the headscarf in many areas of Turkey where speakers argued the Erdogan government is damaging the secular reforms which marked the birth of the current Turkish government. Prime Minister Erdogan complained protestors were attempting to divide the nation.

There must be a compromise solution which could satisfy the aspirations of both groups. One fear undoubtedly is that once the headscarf is in place at the universities, its use will spread to lower grades. Erdogan should find a solution which avoids such a process. That might dampen anger and opposition.