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Turkey seeks to ease headscarf ban

Turkey seeks to ease headscarf ban
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The Turkish government is trying to drum up cross-party support for the lifting of a ban on Muslim headscarves in universities.

But it faces opposition from the courts.

Yesterday the Supreme Court of Appeal published on its website a warning that lifting the ban would violate Turkey’s secular constitution.

The speaker in parliament, Mehmet Ali Şahin, today hit back at that memo, saying the court should apologise to the Turkish people for trying to influence legislation before it has even been drawn up.

Secular opposition parties are ready to compromise with the Islamist-rooted government and allow university students to wear headscarves in class. But they want guarantees that the ban would still apply in secondary schools.

Efforts to reverse secularism in Turkey are extremely divisive and President Abdullah Gul – whose wife this week wore a headscarf at an official event for the first time – has failed in previous attempts to get the ban lifted.