(Reuters) Muslim women attend a demonstration in the old city in Istanbul January 25, 2008.
Turkish MPs voted in favor of a constitutional amendment that allows female students to wear headscarves in universities.
Turkish MPs finally took a step forward towards the advancement of human rights that are respected in the European Union to which Ankara is seeking membership by voting in favor of a constitutional amendment that allows female students to wear headscarves in universities, ABC News reported.
With an outstanding vote of 410 to 110, the Turkish government amended the secular constitution on Thursday to better suit the mainly Muslim country.
It wasn’t a tough battle since the government was backed by the nationalist opposition party, which paved the way for the approval at the preliminary votes.
A final round of voting was slated for Saturday to assure Muslim students who want to practice their religion that their right of choice was granted, a move expected to ease the tensions that have been created by the hijab ban.
Despite the fact that the removal of the hijab ban would make it easier for Muslim university students, the ban is still effective in high schools and public offices.
The hijab ban, which came into force in 1997, was initially introduced to be in line with Turkey’s secular values.
Even though the country hosts seventy million Muslims, secularities regard the head covering as a political statement and argue it has no place in schools.
According to ABC News, the debate over the hijab ban indicates the division between the Islamic-oriented government and the military-backed secular establishment.
However, the Turkish military have so far been silent over the removal of the hijab ban, although army generals have spoken up in the past against what they view as moves to undermine secular principles introduced by the national founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk,.
“If the proposed changes amount to what they say, I would be the first one to oppose them”, Burhan Kusu, ruling party legislator said, while defending the claim that Turkish secularism is at risk.
Bekir Bozdag, the deputy chairman of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), even said that lifting the hijab ban is in line with Turkey’s secular values.
“Giving an equal right to education to every citizen is not against the state of law and democracy,” he told the BBC.
Alhamdulillah…aku gembira dengan berita ini. kakak dan adikku di Turki dapat hak mereka untuk memakai tudung di universiti. Begitulah manusia, “Bila dah hilang sesuatu benda, baru sedar akan kepentingannya“. Semoga ianya akan menjadi pelajaran untuk kita.