HIJAB ALLOWED ON TURKISH CAMPUSES

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the far-right Nationalist Action Party (MHP)

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Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the far-right Nationalist Action Party (MHP) have thrashed out a deal on a compromise on head-cover to be allowed on college and university campuses after decades of an all-out ban. This would need a change in constitution that requires a two-thirds majority in the 550-seat assembly. The AKP and MHP have more than enough legislators to change the constitution and the Higher Education Law which ban hijab on campus. Under the deal agreed by the two parties a day earlier, women at universities are permitted to cover their heads by tying the headscarf in the traditional way beneath the chin. A majority of women use the traditional basortusu – head cover in Turkish – that is more or less loosely knotted under the chin. The ban would remain on the wrap-round headscarf, which secularists claim is associated with political Islam, as well as face-veil. Under this plan, the face must remain open and so a person will not be permitted to conceal her identity. The ban will also continue for teachers and women working in public offices. Hijab, an obligatory code of dress in Islam, was banned in public buildings, universities, schools and government buildings in Muslim-majority Turkey shortly after a 1980 military coup.