An angry debate over a ban on the Islamic head scarf, which is strictly forbidden in public buildings in Turkey, spilled into view this week, with the country’s secular elite vehemently opposing any loosening of the restriction.
The head scarf ban is one of the most emotionally charged issues in Turkey today. This week’s back-and-forth between politicians from two different classes of society — a rising group of observant politicians and a secular elite that has long ruled the country — signals a larger battle to come as the two groups struggle for control of the Turkish state.
On Friday, one of Turkey’s highest courts, the Council of State, issued a stern warning on its Web site about loosening the restriction in universities, saying that allowing head scarves in universities would mean their use could spread to other public buildings, “ultimately hurting peace in society.” Turkey’s judiciary, one of the principal parts of the state from which the secular elite derives its power, banned head scarves in universities in the late 1980s. [Link]
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