Turkish Prime Minister's Attempt to Lift Ban on Headscarves Ruled Anti-Secular

October 24, 2008

Author: Matthew Weaver

Source: The Guardian


Turkey's prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's attempt to lift a ban on wearing headscarves in universities was anti-secular, the country's highest court said today in a ruling that could reignite tensions between the country's secular and pro-Islamic factions.

In July the Guardian reported that the constitutional court stopped short of disbanding Erdogan's Justice and Development party (AKP), but it cut off state funding to the organisation.

Justifying that decision, in a ruling published today, the court said the party violated secular laws but did not incite violence.

It said the government attempt to lift a ban on Islamic-style headscarves at universities showed the party had violated secular laws. And it singled out the prime minister and his allies for criticism.