After a bill proposed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the opposition National Movement Party (MHP) was passed by the parliamentary committee last week, parliament will this week vote on whether students should be allowed to attend university wearing a headscarf, attire which is currently forbidden.
The bill suggests constitutional amendment and changes in one of the Higher Education Council (YÖK) laws.
126,515 visitors to Mausoleum
On Friday, tens of thousands of protesters met under the slogan “222A (The second day of the second month at 2 o’clock at Anitkabir, Atatürk’s mausoleum), We are at the Anitkabir for a laicist Republic.” The protest was led by the Association for Supporting Modern Life (CYDD) and the Republican Women’s Association.
Citing figures from the General Staff, news agencies reported that 126,515 people had entered the Anitkabir.
"The türban is a symbol of oppression"
CYDD Ankara branch president Ülkü Günay wrote a common statement in the visitors’ book of the Anitkabir:
“They want to sacrifice the gains which represent the basis of our Republic to the political tendencies of the government and its supporters. The imperialism which tries to divide nation states, nations and beliefs and wants to play them against each other is now using the emotions of the holy religion in our country in order to abolish laicism, the basic tenet of our Republic. They want to sentence our women, who have succeeded in stepping from darkness to light wiht our revolutions, to the headscarf (türban), a symbol of the oppression of women. This oppression is then shown as “freedom.” We are aware of the game being played and will not deliver our country into counter-revolutionary clutches.”
Referring to the leaders of the AKP and the MHP, protesters shouted “Tayyip, make Bahceli wear the headscarf,” and “Turkey is and will stay laicist.”
"They are from the Middle Ages"
Senal Sarihan, president of the Republican Women’s Association said to the press: “This must not be perceived as just a women’s event. You see how decided people are. We wanted to join the Constitutional Commission when it was time to vote on the constitutional draft, but they did not reply. These are people from the Middle Ages. Why did they not talk to women on issues concerning women? We cannot understand this. We will take the issue to the European Court of Human Rights. And on 9 February we will be back at the Antikabir.” (TK/AG)