Hijab has always been a controversial topic in Turkey. Now the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan is going to end the controversy on hijab by changing the constitution. The Constitutional Committee of the Turkish Parliament has approved the amendment. This amendment to the constitution guarantees women the constitutional right to wear the hijab wherever they choose and defines marriage in more concrete terms.
The amendment was mentioned in parliament last month by 366 MPs from Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party). It is being considered to add provisions in Articles 24 and 41 of the Constitution to make hijab a constitutional right.
According to this amendment, the exercise of fundamental rights, freedom and access to property and services provided by public and private institutions cannot be determined on the basis of whether a woman wears hijab or not.
The amendment states that under no circumstances should a woman be deprived of her basic rights and freedoms, such as education, work, the right to elect and be elected, political activities, civil service or public service, because of the hijab. May not be denied access to the property and services.
Women cannot also be barred from entering a private educational institution for religious reasons or from wearing the hijab as part of the dress. No discrimination can be done against a woman because of wearing hijab.
After the approval of the Constitutional Committee, the amendment proposal will now be presented in the General Assembly of the 600-seat Parliament. MPs will discuss all its aspects in the Parliament. If more than 360 MPs vote in favor of this amendment, then it will be passed by the Parliament and will go to the President.
According to the Turkish news website report, the amendment has the support of around 400 MPs and there is every possibility that it will be passed in the parliament. The President then conducts a referendum on this amendment or in case of disagreement, sends the MPs back for reassessment.
According to the report, the President will send it for a referendum. When the presidential elections are held in May this year, people will also vote on a constitutional amendment related to the hijab. After this this amendment will become an integral part of the constitution.
Hijab controversy is old in Turkey
When Turkey used to be a secular nation years ago, controversies about the hijab were common there. Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk considered the hijab a symbol of backward thinking. For this reason he had banned it. In the Muslim country of Turkey, people’s opinion about this was quite divided.
In 2008, amendments were made to ease restrictions on the hijab in Turkey, and the wearing of loose hijabs was approved in universities. But the niqab, which covers the entire face and neck, remained banned.
In 2013, Turkey lifted the ban on wearing the hijab in government institutions. But since Recep Tayyip Erdogan became president in 2014, efforts are on to completely abolish the hijab ban. In 2016, Erdogan’s government lifted the hijab ban on female police officers. Now by amending the constitution, all preparations have been made to make hijab a constitutional right of women.