Turkey's headscarf reform receives mixed public response
Turkey lifted an almost 90-year ban on women wearing Islamic head scarfs in state institutions Tuesday, according to Reuters. The decision to lift the ban comes among other reforms designed to improve government relations with its Kurdish communities and improve democratic conditions in the country generally.
In 1925, a cabinet decree under Attaturk called for clothing reforms that would banish pubic displays of religious affiliation, including Muslim women's headscarves.
The decision to lift the ban has received mixed responses from the majority Muslim country. For some members of the public, the new rule is seen to encourage many more women to enter the labor force who previously stayed at home or worked in other non-state sectors previously. For others, particularly secularists, the lift on the ban is seen as evidence of goverment movement towards pushing a greater Islamic agenda in the country.
The tense divides around the scarf is reflective of greater debates and critiques on whether or not Prime Minister Erdogan and his Islamist AK Party are "eroding the secular foundations" upon which the Turkish state was founded upon under Ottoman rule.
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