Ruling party submits charter changes on headscarf to parliament

Ruling party submits charter changes on headscarf to parliament

Ruling party submits charter changes on headscarf to parliament

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) submitted a constitutional amendment proposal on the use of headscarf in public and private spheres to the parliament on Dec. 9.

The proposal is submitted to the parliament with the signature of 336 lawmakers, Özlem Zengin, the deputy parliamentary group leader of the AKP, said at a press conference.

Supported by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and Great Union Party (BBP), the amendments concern freedom of religion and conscience and protection of the family and children’s rights, respectively.

The amendment seeks freedom for women both preferring to keep their head covered or uncovered, Zengin said, adding that their proposal mentions that a woman will decide on her clothes by herself.

With the freedom of religion, a woman can decide whether she wants to cover her head with a scarf, Zengin noted.

The other amendment is about the family structure, she said.

If one wants to destroy a society, he must first distort the family, the lawmaker said. “Although it is stated in the civil code, we will also include in the constitution the statement that the union of marriage is a legal institution between a woman and a man.”

“What brought us here is the strengthening of civic politics. This has happened with the acumen of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. For us, this issue is a reality. This is the most basic fact of our life. With the loss of power of tutelage over time, these prohibitions have been alleviated over time,” she said.

Zengin noted that bans on headscraf have actually eased since 2013 in Türkiye. “Actually, we don’t need any amendment. While there is no such thing for uncovered women, why would it be for women with headscarves,” the lawmaker said.

“Being covered or uncovered is a right above the constitution. If we are going to guarantee this, it will be with the constitution. What is guaranteed by law changes by law,” Zengin stated.

Asked why they needed such an amendment given the current circumstances, Zengin said they aim to “underline an assurance” for society.

At least 400 votes out of 600 lawmakers are needed to amend the constitution. Votes between 360 and 400 will take the amendments to referendum.

“We aim that the votes will exceed 400 and make the amendment without going to referendum,” Zengin said.

The AKP and its supporters, MHP and BBP have not enough majority to take the changes to a referendum. They need at least 26 additional votes.

The AKP’s move came after Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu proposed legal changes in October to remove obstacles to using the headscarf in the public sphere.

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