Alexa

Turkish prime minister holds emergency party meeting after court upholds head scarf ban

Turkish prime minister holds emergency party meeting after court upholds head scarf ban

Turkey's prime minister called an emergency meeting with officials from his Islamic-rooted party Friday, a day after the country's top court rebuffed a government attempt to lift a ban on wearing Muslim head scarves in universities.
The Constitutional Court's ruling did not bode well for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's party, which faces closure in a separate case on charges of becoming "the focal point of anti-secular activities."
The government had campaigned for re-election last year on a promise to lift the head scarf ban on grounds of religious and personal freedom. Upon victory Erdogan passed constitutional amendments to lift the ban.
But the court threw out the amendments Thursday, saying removing the ban would violate Turkey's secular principles. The decision, which is final, threw a heavy legal barrier before any future attempts to lift the ban.
Erdogan was discussing the court ruling Friday with the highest-ranking members of his Justice and Development Party. Some analysts speculated the government could call another election early.
Ruling party member Sadullah Ergin said only that "all options are on the table."
Another top party member, Bulent Arinc, described the court decision as "grave" and suggested the court had overstepped its power.
"It gives me goose pimples," said Arinc, a former parliament speaker. "The Constitutional Court has indirectly seized the power of parliament."
Dozens of people, including some women wearing black chadors, protested the court's decision Friday in Ankara. A placard left outside the court building read: "No one can go against God's order to wear head scarves."
Hundreds of people also protested the court ruling in Istanbul and in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, following Friday prayers.
Turkey's fiercely secular military signaled satisfaction with the court's decision to uphold the head scarf ban, which has been vigorously enforced in public offices and universities since a 1980 military coup.
Many see the head scarf as an emblem of political Islam, and consider any attempt to allow it in schools as an attack on modern Turkey's secular laws. Some also argue that lifting the ban would create pressure on all female students to cover themselves. Most of Turkey's 70 million people are Muslim.
The European Union, which Turkey is trying to join, said the ban was a domestic Turkish issue.
"It is a question for Turkey and its people," Krisztina Nagy, EU spokeswoman on enlargement, said Friday in Brussels. "The main issue at stake is that basic freedoms are respected and that the decision is taken in line with European standards."


Updated : 2021-04-15 04:49 GMT+08:00