An ongoing power struggle between religious and secular movements in Turkey has taken another twist, with the country’s highest court blocking government moves to allow college students to wear Muslim headscarves.
Until recently the wearing of headscarves was banned under provisions designed to allow women to study, uninhibited by Islamic religious practices. The court ruled that a vote by parliament to ease a ban on scarves being worn on campuses violated the constitution’s secular principles.
However, the government argues that a headscarf ban stops many girls, who conscientiously choose to wear traditional Islamic dress, being educated. The ruling AK Party which was re-elected last year with a convincing 47% of the vote, says it is a matter of personal and religious freedom.