Turkey divided as parliament backs headscarf move

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Turkey divided as parliament backs headscarf move

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The controversial issue of the Muslim headscarf is top of the agenda again in Turkey with the government trying to change the constitution to allow the garment to be worn in universities.

A move to lift a ban on the veil has been approved in a first round vote in parliament.

The reaction in Istanbul reflected a divided nation:

“When I was at university in 1968 we wore miniskirts,” one woman said. “I thought ‘how modern an environment it’ll be for our children.’ But the situation is heartbreaking today.”

Another wearing a headscarf said: “We don’t interfere with others, so they shouldn’t interfere with us. Everything will settle down in the end.”

The ruling AK Party, which has roots in Islam, says it wants to allow the headscarf on campuses to boost religious and personal freedoms.

At the same time it has pledged to uphold secularism.

But many, including army generals, judges and university rectors, say the secular tradition in Turkey is under attack.