Headscarf Issue Continues Dividing Turkish Society

Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan blasted judiciary critics of the proposal to life the ban on females wearing headscarves in Turkish universities. His Justice and Development Party, (PKK) is committed to end the ban and believes its majority in the nation’s political structure indicates the nation is behind them on this issue. Historically, since the days of Ataturk’s founding of modern Turkey, the nation’s armed forces and leaders have been strong supporters of a secular society in which religion does not interfere with everyday life. the political victory of the PKK marks a sharp divergence from what has transpired in the past and Erdogan is fighting to carry out the mandate of ending the headscarf ban.

Erdogan is now confronted by the army and the judiciary which will fight any attempt to alter the secular nature of Turkey. The Council of State made clear its oppositon to Erdogan’s proposal by stating: “The plans to(lift the ban) will not remain limited to educational institutions and thus we view them with concern as they will damage social peace.”

There apparently is need for assurance from the PKK that this issue does not represent any attempt by religious leaders to impose their will on the Turkish people, many of whom regard themselves as committed to the separation of church and state. Perhaps, this is what Erdogan must focus on in the coming months.