RIGHTS > Union launches bid to remove headscarf ban

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News

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Union members hold a rally against headscarf ban in schools in İzmir. Hürriyet photo

Union members hold a rally against headscarf ban in schools in İzmir. Hürriyet photo

An umbrella trade union has launched a campaign and petition to lift a ban on wearing headscarves in government offices.

The Confederation of Public Servants’ Trade Unions (Memur-Sen) aims to collect 10 million signatures as part of the campaign, “10 Million-Signature Campaign for Free Dress Code in Public Areas.” “Memur-Sen, which is the biggest confederation of public servants with its 650,000 members, has decided to collect 10 million signatures by also including the opinion of the public in the process, to introduce it to the Prime Ministry,” the union said on its website.

The campaigners have held various actions including a demonstration in front of Parliament on Nov. 30, 2012, and a civil disobedience action Jan. 2 involving going to workplaces with dress code violations.

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

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.


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young genius

2/1/2013 8:31:43 AM

These women don't know that they are playing with fire. Türkiye is secular and will remain so. Why only headscarfs? Why not other symbols of religion? Will they allow crosses and the hats that the Jews who practice Judaism? It may be a small win for some women but a huge loss for a lot of many other women who want islamic dress away from them. Some people don't understand that you can be a Muslim without looking like an Arab.

mara mcglothin

2/1/2013 1:48:04 AM

NAGAYEC In some workplaces the headscarf presents a hazard to the person wearing it as well as the people working around her. This can also be a security issue. You can't enter a bank in the USA with a hat on, so how would it be acceptable for a woman to cover her head in a bank or on a driver's license? JRC I am with you. I thought the covering was to protect modesty, BUT not with a full face of makeup, jewelry and attractive seductive clothing? I don't get it.

cezer "çapulcu" skonore

1/30/2013 9:04:58 PM

Nageyec Conduz: If the women have to be forced to observe any provision of Islam by their husbands, fathers and brothers, they should first gain "freedom" from those oppressive elements. Then, they can fight for the "equality".

Çılgın Kanarya

1/30/2013 7:38:14 PM

Here's a thought ... I wonder if the 30th November protest outside of parliament was broken up and dispersed by riot police wielding batons and spraying pepper gas at anything that moved? Ha ha, yeah I bet it was! And before anyone points out that the demonstration had official permission (if it did), then yes, well of course this one would be allowed :) By the way, I'm in favour of people being free to dress as they please, but I do wonder exactly how 'free' some of these women really are.

Brit in Turkey

1/30/2013 7:25:12 PM

If the point of wearing a headscarf is to preserve modesty then it often backfires. To my old jaundiced eyes many a headscarf wearing lady looks extremely sexy. At least one in the picture makes my point for me.

Brit in Turkey

1/30/2013 7:22:02 PM

JRC: There is no significance, unless you have a "bad hair day". How about a campaign to legalise the wearing of the fez?

Aslam Benli

1/30/2013 6:30:28 PM

If you want to wear a burka, it's OK with me - is freedom of choice. But what is next? Sultan Erdogan (advised by Gülen and Erbakan) banning alcohol, voiding secular Turks from voting, people learning science, wearing shorts, reading western newspapers, western music, etc. Sounds like Sharia Law is coming to town; we will look more like Iran. Gule gule Secular Turkiye...

Nageyec Conduz

1/30/2013 11:23:50 AM

Faruk Beisser, you ignoring the fact that Turkish people are over ninety percent Muslims, and thus have a right to observe their culture freely, without the likes of you telling them what part they should and shouldn't observe.

Nageyec Conduz

1/30/2013 10:15:39 AM

a small step, nevertheless significant, in bringing an overdue equality in work places.


1/30/2013 9:36:38 AM

Could someone explain exactly what the headscarf represents? It's nothing to do with modesty, obviously, so is it just an outward expression of piety, and if so why do so many women with headscarves seem anything but pious? It seems to be either an expression of political affiliation or something worn because of pressure from society.
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