AKP proposal for headscarf in public service gets objection
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
The AKP has withdrawn its proposal to wear headscarves in the public sphere, however it intends to solve the issue in the article on ‘freedom of thought and faith.’ DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜRELThe Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) proposal aiming to secure the freedom to wear headscarves in the public sphere as part of the article on “the right to enter public service,” has not been accepted at Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission.
Following opposition objections, the AKP revised its proposal, but the party is expected to again bring the issue to the agenda in other articles.
During a meeting held on Sept. 4, the Constitution Conciliation Commission discussed the AKP’s proposal, which aimed to allow public servants to work while wearing headscarves.
The AKP proposed to include the expression of “No condition can be placed upon those entering public service except merit.” However, the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) objected to the proposal, insisting that the following expression should be used instead: “No condition can be placed upon entering public service except the qualifications required for duty.” Upon the CHP’s objection, the AKP withdrew its proposal. As the AKP intends to solve the headscarf problem in the article on “freedom of thought and faith,” the party did not insist on the matter.
After the AKP revised its proposal, a consensus was reached on the following expression: “Every citizen has the right to enter public service. No condition can be placed upon entering public service except the qualifications required for duty.”
Upon a request from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), positive discrimination for women was also included in the text. That expression, which was approved by all parties, was included in an article reading: “The gender equality principle is protected, on condition that the qualifications required for duty are reserved.”
Meanwhile, the issue of the definition of “Turkishness” was discussed during the meeting. The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) demanded the inclusion of “Turkish citizen” in the expression “Every citizen has the right to enter public service,” which is included in the first paragraph of the article. However, the AKP, the CHP and the BDP insisted on the usage of only the word “citizen”. Upon these objections, the MHP did not insist, but did request that their demand was recorded.
During the commission meeting, a number of passionate disputes also arose. BDP deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder and CHP deputy Süheyl Batum had a bitter argument, arising from the controversial issue of party closures.
“You said parties must be closed by the prime minister instead of judges,” Batum said to Önder. Upon that, Önder said he had never used such an expression and that such inferences could not be made from his words. Upon Batum’s persistence, Önder stood up and said: “You are a provocateur. You are trying to stir up trouble through provocations.” He then approached Batum, at which point the other commission members intervened to prevent possible punches being thrown. Subsequently, Batum did not attend a number of sessions of the commission.