Why Are Turkish Women Abandoning Headscarves?

A columnist for the Turkish newspaper, Hurriyet, created a controversy by claiming there was a trend among Muslim women to abandon the headscarf. He pointe out that the sons of Istanbul’s mayor and a minister in the Cabinet had married women who did not have their head covered as a possible new development. Ahmet Hakan, raised the question: “if conservative men do not marry headscarfed women, who is going to marry them?” The fact such prominent men are willing to marry a woman who does not cover her head suggests that compelling one’s wife to have a headscarf is no longer politically dangerous.

Some critics argue that women who do not wear the headscarf convey a symbol of being a modern woman and this might be beneficial to a political leader who is arguing for change to make Turkey a modern society. Perhaps, it also reflects when a Muslim political party is in power issues such as the headscarf are no longer linked to issues of power. It appears Turkey is moving in the direction of a multi-belief in terms of what women can or can not wear.