Turkish Lawmakers Lift Ban on Islamic Head Scarves at Universities

February 9, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: English Politics News/CNN

Wire Service: AP


Parliament has voted to amend the constitution to lift a decades-old ban on Islamic head scarves at Turkey's universities, despite fierce opposition from the secular establishment.

Tens of thousands of Turks demonstrated in the capital, Ankara, against the amendments and called for the government's resignation. "Turkey is secular and will remain secular," they chanted, many waving flags.

In a final vote, lawmakers voted 411-103 on Saturday to approve two constitutional amendments that will add paragraphs saying everyone has the right to equal treatment from state institutions and "no one can be deprived of (his or her) right to higher education."

The changes must be signed by President Abdullah Gul, an observant Muslim who is widely expected to approve the amendments.