Turks vote to allow headscarf in colleges

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Dubai, Feb 10 (UNI) In a significant development that is feared to alter the secular nature of Muslim-predominant Turkey, its parliament lifted a ban on women wearing headscarves at universities.

The decision taken yesterday to lift the ban imposed in late 1990s in the fiercely secular country will bring further pressure on women and ''it will ultimately bring us Hezbollah terror, Al Qaeda terror and fundamanetalism'', Nesrin Baytok, MP from the opposition secular party warned during the debate in parliament.

On the face of it the innocuous ammendment allows all citizens the right to go to college regardless of how they dress but the secular crowds protesting outside the parliament in Ankara were unconvinced, according to newspaper reports in Turkey.

Another member from the secular opposition, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, said the group would take the amendments to the Constitutional Court, a pro-secular institution that is likely to rule against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's move.

The Turkish Daily News said the move pitted the Islamist-rooted government against secularists. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) proposed the reform last week, following a deal with the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), saying that enabling all women to attain university education is essential in ensuring basic human rights in the country but the opposition Republican Peoples Party (CHP) are not amused saying the proposal was unconsitutional.

The secular opponents, among them the military, the judiciary and academics, have said that lifting the ban will undermine the principle of secularism, one of the founding principles of the 84-year-old Republic.

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