Expelled headscarved MP should return to Parliament: Turkish Deputy PM
ISTANBUL - Doğan News Agency
In 1999, then Virtue Party (FP) lawmaker Merve Kavakçı was expelled from the parliamentary session because of her headscarf.As the ban on veiled deputies in the Turkish General Assembly has been lifted, a former lawmaker who lost her position for this reason should be offered the opportunity to serve as a deputy after running for elections again, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has said.
In 1999, then Virtue Party (FP) lawmaker Merve Kavakçı was expelled from the parliamentary session because of her headscarf.
Kavakçı, who had been elected as Istanbul deputy for the FP, was prevented from taking the parliamentary oath as a result of harsh objections from the Democratic Left Party (DSP). Her citizenship was subsequently annulled on the grounds that she was a citizen of the United States.
The late prime minister Bülent Ecevit, who was the leader of the DSP, took the floor when Kavakçı took her seat in the assembly and made a speech inviting the deputies to “teach this lady her place.” Kavakçı was then forced to leave Parliament by deputies who clapped their hands and shouted “get out, get out!”
However, Deputy PM Arınç said that to enter Parliament was Kavakçı’s right, as she was elected and had gained the right to be a lawmaker.
“We must offer our sister the opportunity to be a member of Parliament, after her membership was previously extorted,” he said, speaking at an event organized to celebrate the 40th year in politics of the former leader of the Felicity Party (RP), Recai Kutan, in Istanbul on Nov. 28.
Arınç spoke after a documentary dedicated to Kutan was screened for the attendees.
“I do not know which party will let this happen [Kavakçı's return], but I want it to be the AK Party,” he added.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced a "democracy package" on Sept. 30, which included the lifting of the headscarf ban. He said his government would remove the headscarf ban for public servants in public institutions, except for judges, prosecutors, police officers and members of the army.
On Oct. 31, four female lawmakers wearing headscarves entered Parliament in a historic move.