AKP takes action for headscarves
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Women with headscarves protest to have the freedom to wear it in public sphere. DAILY NEWS photoThe ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has taken a first step that could pave the way to allowing the freedom to wear the headscarf in the public sphere.
The AKP took measures against a possible headscarf ban, saying “merit” is a sufficient consideration, regardless of “the qualifications required for duty” in entering public service, in a proposal for the new constitution. The Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission took a break upon the request of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) on July 10. After a 20-day hiatus, the commission resumed work on July 31. At the assembled commission, gathered under the chairmanship of Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek, members representing the AKP, Republican People’s Party (CHP), Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and BDP presented their proposals for articles in the section covering “Fundamental Rights and Liberties.” The parties will examine the proposed articles and try to make the texts appeal to common interests.
Among the AKP’s proposals for the “Fundamental Rights and Liberties” section are two important changes to the article about entering public service. “Every Turk has the right to enter public service. No distinction can be made regarding who enters public service except as regards the qualifications required for duty,” the current constitution reads. The AKP’s proposed text reads “every citizen” rather than “every Turk.” “Every citizen has the right to enter public service. No condition can be placed upon entering public service except merit,” the AKP’s proposal reads. By removing the expression “the qualifications required for duty,” and including only “merit” among the requirements, the AKP has taken a measure against a possible ban on wearing the headscarf in the public sphere. The AKP is expected to attempt to introduce the freedom to wear the headscarf in the public sphere by changing the initial principles of the constitution, including the articles regarding secularity and education.
The AKP also introduced a new regulation in the “Fundamental Rights and Liberties” section, which would enable courts and administrations to “comment in favor of freedom,” when there is uncertainty regarding the constitution and laws. The wording “In case of uncertainty, commenting in favor of freedom can constitute the basis [of a decision],” was added to the section, potentially allowing courts to express whether a decision is based on considerations of freedom or authority.