ANKARA – The Turkish parliament Tuesday passed for a second time a controversial law pardoning tens of thousands of women who were expelled from universities for reasons including the wearing of the Islamic headscarf, banned under Turkey’s secular education system.
The law, which amnesties students expelled since 2000, was already vetoed once by Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer in late February….
The bill was drawn up by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which has roots in a now banned Islamic movement.
Critics have blasted the law as a “populist” political tactic aimed at women who were expelled for wearing headscarves, which are banned in the civil service, schools and universities….
Headscarves are regarded by the establishment, including the Turkish army, as a statement of opposition to the overwhelmingly Muslim nation’s strictly secular order.
Thus even in Turkey they understand what Westerners have so much trouble grasping: that sometimes a scarf is not just a scarf. It can be a symbol for an entire political and social system.