Amnesty International has been pleased with positive moves on the part of the Turkish government to foster human rights. Irene Khan, speaking for AI, said the decision not to close down political parties, to initiate an investigation of military attempts to subvert the rule of law, and an apparent desire to open new possibilities of respecting the rights of Kurdish citizens are signs there is a willingness to foster the rule of law. Ms. Kahn supported the Erdogan government’s attempt to allow women to wear a headscarf while attending university classes. According to Ms. Kahn, Amnesty International regards the decision to wear or not wear a headscarf relates to “freedom of expression and freedom of religion.”

The controversy over the headscarf in Turkey relates to fears on the part of secular leaders that once women wear them in school it might lead to pressure being exerted on all students to wear one. The question is whether banning headscarves is simply another example of the state imposing its will on women as in Saudi Arabia or in Iran where women have to wear certain garments.

The major concern of AI is the presence of laws which restrict what people can say concerning certain topics like the Armenian genocide. Turkey no longer has need for such outdated laws.

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