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Turkey's president approves use of Islamic head scarves at universities - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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ANKARA, Turkey (AP) – President Abdullah Gul on Friday approved a set of constitutional amendments that would allow female students to wear Islamic head scarves at universities.

Parliament, dominated by members of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamic-rooted party, passed the measure earlier this month. But the legislation faces another hurdle: the secular opposition has vowed a legal challenge to the amendments on grounds that they violate Turkey’s secular constitution.

The head scarf issue has polarized Turkey and exposed once again a deep gap between the Islamic-rooted government and the military-led secular establishment.

Gul, an observant Muslim, whose wife and daughter wear the Islamic style head coverings said the amendments did not violate the republic’s secular principles. The changes were approved by 411 out of a 550 lawmakers “representing some 80 percent of the population,” he said.

Gul said the government should put in place measures to alleviate the concerns of the secular population. Some fear the government might also try to lift the ban on head scarves in schools and government institutions. “There is a need to understand the fears of some of our citizens and to bring to life measures that will remove these fears,” a presidential statement read.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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