Charter panel talks headscarf freedom
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
The draft has raised debate that it will remove the headscarf ban. DHA photo
A draft clause on the freedom of religion and conscience reading, “Nobody can be prohibited from fulfilling the requirements of their religious belief,” in the draft Constitution has led to speculations on whether this could pave the way for lifting of the ban on headscarf in the public sphere, as argued by some members of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).
The clause was drafted with full agreement during a meeting of the Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission on May 9, which remarkably included consent from the deputies of the CHP. However, the interpretation of the clause as a green light for wearing headscarves in public zones led to a debate within the CHP. Süheyl Batum, a deputy of the CHP and also a member of the commission, said if it were to provide a basis for allowing the headscarf, then it must have been adopted by mistake and must be amended.
In contrast, the other two members of the commission from the CHP, Atilla Kart and Rıza Türmen, argued that adoption of the said clause would not pave the way for allowing headscarves in public zones, hinting at a possible dichotomy within the party. Yet, Kart told the Hürriyet Daily News that there was no such difference of opinion within the CHP on the issue.
Kart further said Article 70 of the current charter, which reads “There can be no discrimination beyond the qualities necessitated by the duty in public service,” will remain intact. “Allowing the headscarf in public is out of question in that regulation made yesterday,” Kart said.