Turkish PM praises 'end of discrimination' with removal of ban on headscarves in Parliament
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks during a meeting on Oct. 31. AA photoPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has praised the entry of lawmakers wearing headscarves into the Parliament in his pre-recorded monthly address to the nation aired on Oct. 31, saying that the government had put an end to a “discriminatory practice.”
“The new democratization package aims to strengthen our economy, stability, peace and security. With this package we are doing away with meaningless bans and outdated practices that have lost their purpose or importance, as well as impositions that restrict freedoms and that create unease among varying segments across society,” Erdoğan said.
“Those who don’t wear headscarves are as much this country’s citizens as those who wear headscarves. Both have the same rights and freedoms. Displaying favoritism to one against the other is not in line with the principles of equality and justice. Seeing one as an accepted citizen while disdaining the other is against the public conscience and human values,” he added.
The prime minister also rejected attempts to label headscarves as a "political symbol." “Terming the headscarf as a political symbol [is something] that can only be as a result of ignorance. People in this country who have abided by their religious beliefs have been deprived of certain opportunities and have had to bear living with greatly unjust conditions,” Erdoğan said, adding that the lifting of the ban would allow normalization" to occur across the nation.
“We are only ensuring Turkey’s normalization, instituting equal opportunities and putting an end to discrimination which was aimed to polarize our citizens ... We never had the intention of altering the balance for one side, while correcting it for the other side,” he added.
Four female lawmakers of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) entered a General Assembly meeting in Parliament on Oct. 31, 14 years after the then Welfare Party (RP) lawmaker Merve Kavakçı was expelled from the parliamentary sitting.
Main opposition leader ‘happy’
For his part, main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu also expressed his satisfaction. “I am very happy today,” the Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader told reporters without elaborating on his comments concerning the presence of deputies with headscarves at the parliamentary session. “I thank all our deputies who made speeches at Parliament,” he added.