Headscarf Wars Resume In Turkey

The Constitutional Court of Turkey recently handed down a decision not to close down the Justice and Development Party of the nation due to its alleged attempts to foster religious values in society but warned its leaders not to pursue any policy of forcing religion on secular institutions such as universities. President Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan assured the nation it would respect the views of the Constitutional Court and work more closely with secular political parties. Apparently, the words of yesterday have scant connection to the actions of today. The Supreme Education Board(YOK) submitted a list of rectors to head universities which mainly contains names of those who wish to end the ban on wearing the headscarf at a university. A total of 36 of the 69 candidates signed a declaration supporting lifting the headscarf ban.

There is nothing wrong with appointing an individual to the position of rector of a university who holds views supporting the right to wear a headscarf, but in most cases of these appointments the faculty of universities recommended other people for the position of rector. President Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan are going against faculty wishes in these appointments which can only serve to foster fear and concern among secular believers in Turkey that their wishes are not being respected.