President Abdullah Gul spoke forcefully at a press conference in denouncing opposition to the proposed change in the Turkish constitution which would over-turn the ban on women wearing a headscarf while attending college. He defended the proposal noting, “there is no such problem in Western societies but there is a problem in Turkey and I believe it is the first duty of those in politics to solve the problem.” The proposal has met with strong opposition from university rectors who fear lifting the ban is the first step in a move to make religion an important factor in university life. Gul told the rectors “they should mind their own business.”
President Gul’s comments will do nothing to alleviate concerns by secular groups within Turkish society. His Justice and Development Party only won 47% of the vote and as of this moment in time has never gained a majority vote of the Turkish people. Perhaps, meeting with rectors and giving assurances would be more beneficial than attacking the group.