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RIGHTS > Millions sign petition against headscarf ban

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An umbrella trade union known as the Confederation of Public Servants’ Trade Unions (Memur-Sen) has collected 12.3 million signatures in a petition campaign to lift a ban on wearing headscarves in government offices.

“We do not want to wear the uniforms designed by pro-coup mindset and we declare that we will not wear them,” said head of Mmeur Sen Ahmet Gündoğdu said yesterday, according to the union’s website.

The “10 Million Signature Campaign for Free Dress Code in Public Areas” reached its target in a short span of time as Memur-Sen, which is the biggest confederation of public servants with 650,000 members, held various events, including a demonstration in front of Parliament on Nov. 30, 2012, and a civil disobedience action on Jan. 2 that involved going to workplaces in clear violation of the dress code.

“We will hand the 12.3 million signatures to the Prime Minister’s Office to convey the wishes of our people to lift the bans. From now on the responsibility belongs to the government and Turkish Parliament,” he said.

On Jan. 25, following the revoking of a regulation banning the headscarf in judicial institutions by the Cabinet, a female lawyer entered a Turkish court wearing a headscarf for the first time.

Lifting the ban for public servants has been spurring debates in the politic arena for decades. The general ban on wearing Muslim religious headscarves in government offices and public primary schools continues, although the ban has not been enforced in universities and is often ignored in some workplaces.

February/21/2013

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