Ankara – Symbolizing the emerging trend of rejuvenation of the letter and spirit of Islam in practice, four Turkish Members of Parliament, who happen to be Muslim ladies, broke a decades-old veil ban by wearing their headscarves to work.
The ladies’ entrance into Turkey's parliament chambers in Ankara began their term in office, marking an end to the early 1920s ban on the Muslim symbol of female modesty imposed in the early days of the Turkish Republic, when secularist dictator Kemal Ataturk sought to transform Turkey into a progressive and prosperous nation by removing religious practice and effects from outward public expression.
The symbolic action highlights an emerging trend in Turkey where the issue of headscarves remains highly sensitive, as it is viewed by secularists as a sign of political Islam in stark contrast to the republic's strongly secular traditions, reported Agence France Presse (AFP).
The four Members of Parliament (MP) – Sevde Beyazit Kacar, Gulay Samanci, Nurcan Dalbudak and Gonul Bekin Sahkulubey are members of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) which has [religious] roots and has gained a strong following in this nation of 74 million.
The main secular opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), which had previously said it would contest any parliamentarians seeking to wear headscarves in the chamber, did not officially respond to the move, reported Reuters, mentioning that a few of its members did jeer as the four women entered the assembly, while another wore a T-shirt depicting the face of the Turkish Republic's secular founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who also founded the CHP.
Other fellow members of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) greeted the four female lawmakers with hugs and kisses when they entered the chamber.