By continuing your visit to this site, you accept the use of cookies. These ensure the smooth running of our services. Learn more.

17 February 2008

Turkish PM seeks to smooth secularists’ worries

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan tried to smooth worries about secularism after the law lifting the ban on headscarf in universities and repeated his criticism against the media on Sunday.

“I say we are the assurance against the worries concerning secularism. Nobody will force anybody to cover (her head) in this country... If such things happen, we will fight against this with all of our institutions” Erdogan told the private channel ATV. There will be no discrimination in universities against those who haven’t covered their heads, Erdogan added. “We said our party will not be religion oriented. We are not aiming a religious state; we don’t have such an effort.”

The Turkish parliament has approved last week the bill amending two articles of the Constitution to ease the headscarf ban. Although the Turkish parliament had overwhelmingly approved easing of the headscarf ban, the public opinion remains divided.

Erdogan repeated his recent criticism against the media, saying that the recent reports signaling a rise in Islamism in Turkey are “provocative”. “If you define the support of 411 MP’s who are the representatives of the public as chaos, I can’t stand this. This definition is undermining the dignity of the MP’s” Erdogan said, referring to Turkey’s leading newspaper Hurriyet’s front page headline from the day after the voting in the parliament.

The prime minister also vowed to continue the reforms once the headscarf process is completed. “We are going to pass the law to ease property restrictions on non-Muslim religious minorities. Also we have the (amendment) of article 301 (of the Penal Code), and the Social Security Law on our agenda. We are going to approve those. These law are very important for us. The law related to the EU membership process are very important” Erdogan added.

Turkey plans to give the mandate over implementation of the controversial article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code to President Abdullah Gul’s discretion. The European Union has been calling Turkey to amend the article 301, which has been the basis for charges against past cases against Turkish intellectuals such as Hrant Dink, Elif Safak, and Orhan Pamuk. But the amendment of the article 301 was delayed due to the easing of the headscarf ban in universities.

posted by / http://www.hurriyet.com.tr

08:46 Posted in TURKEY | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |

The comments are closed.