Time is right for headscarf in Turkish Parliament: Deputy

Time is right for headscarf in Turkish Parliament: Deputy

Time is right for headscarf in Turkish Parliament: Deputy

Nurcan Dalbudak announced she would soon come to the General Assembly meetings at the Parliament wearing a headscarf. DHA Photo

The time has become right for female deputies to wear headscarves, Deputy Nurcan Dalbudak said before her historic entrance into the Parliament with two other female lawmakers.

“We have decided to continue this [wearing headscarves] after being influenced by the spirituality there [at the hajj] with the help of social conditions that have become mature,” Dalbudak told Anadolu Agency Oct. 28.

The Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmakers Sevde Beyazıt Kaçar, Gülay Samancı and Nurcan Dalbudak separately announced they would soon come to the General Assembly meetings at the Parliament wearing headscarves.

All three have been among the AKP’s female deputies who recently performed the annual hajj this year, and Dalbudak says this had an impact on them.

Dalbudak shared that she also wished to enter Parliament wearing a headscarf after returning from the hajj last year, but said as the conditions weren’t suitable she didn’t even attempt to do so.

A debate on whether Parliament’s internal regulation allows deputies to wear headscarves erupted after the government’s abolition of a headscarf ban for female public servants as part of a recently announced “democratization package.”

Dalbudak strongly urged her remarks should not be understood as if she thinks everybody returning from the hajj performance should be veiled, underlining her decision was result of several impetuses’ coming together.

Although the deputy also said they are ready to witness oppositions, she optimistically noted her belief that these would not, “be the same as the pains veiled female lawmakers experienced in 1999.”

In 1999, Merve Kavakçı, elected as Istanbul deputy for the Virtue Party (FP), was prevented from taking the Parliamentary oath for wearing a headscarf as a result of harsh objection from the Democratic Left Party (DSP), and her citizenship was consequently annulled on arguments that she was a citizen of the United States.

Meanwhile, Levent Tüzel, Istanbul independent deputy and member of the executive council of the Peoples’ Democratic Congress (HDK), has also blasted the veiled AKP lawmakers’ decision to enter Parliament.

“The AKP, which has used headscarf and beliefs as an abuse subject for years, is not presenting freedom for women with the liberalization of headscarves in public institutions,” he tweeted on Oct. 28.
Claiming this liberalization is not aimed at freedom for women, Tüzel said this move should be objected, “because it is a product of the AKP’s belief abuse.”

He said he does not find the AKP’s step innocent because, “the party has been neglecting this much violence imposed on the bodies and lives of women.”

Tüzel’s remark, which demonstrates a different stance than most of the HDK supporter politicians’ opinions, has stirred strong reaction from social media as well.

Particularly after the Feb. 28 process that refers to the infamous “post-modern coup,” a military intervention that forced late ex-Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan to resign in 1997, the headscarf has become a symbol of one of the most strained political polarizations in the country.