Headscarf War Continues In Turkey

Turkey is not the United States or Germany or France so many Turks might resent comparisons between their nation and other societies. Turkey’s historic development differs markedly from those of other nations and the fight to separate church and state has its own Turkish flavor. College students registering for the fall term in Turkey who wore a headscarf were not allowed to enter university buildings in order to register. They were compelled to take off the head covering in order to get into classes. The headscarf ban began in the 1980s in an attempt by the military to make clear to Islamists their nation was dedicated to secular principles.

Twenty years have passed and both secular and religious groups live in peace. Perhaps, it is time to reconsider the ban and identify new ways to guarantee secular rights without dealing with supposedly symbolic issues like what head garment is worn. Surely, there is the possibility of protecting both religious and secular rights.