Sunday, November 10, 2013

Turkey moving forward with democracy

Turkey has had a problem with democracy and religious rights for quite some time.  Over the past few decades Turkey’s greatest battle has been over the wearing of headscarves or hijabs.  In 1997 Turkey introduced a law that made girls and young women who wear the headscarves go to other means for education.  A big point for the headscarves law was when in 2007 the AK party which was for justice and development passed a law that permitted headscarves to be worn in schools.  The bill was immediately tested by being sent to the constitutional court on the basis that it violated the secularism of the state which almost leads to the governmental removal of the AK party which was the majority party of the time.  The issue is interesting because it is a battle between traditionalists and modernists but also a battle between people who want to limit some religious rights and some who want them to permit these allowances. 

The battle in Turkey is boiling over something that could have quickly been eliminated through compromises if there were a good democratic system in place.  The headscarf issue is something that cannot be easily removed so there needs to be a system in place for when you can and cannot wear the headscarves.  If Turkey wishes to ban the headscarves and be taken seriously as a modern nation they would have to adopt a system similar to France and outright forbid all versions of showing your religion.  The fears of a few in powers that have the ability to influence others seem to be the ones who are influencing others to say the headscarf needs to go.  Recently the government has allowed women to wear headscarves thankfully but it was not without a tumultuous battle that can still have backlash nationally and possibly globally.  Overall, the issue could have been avoided if democracy would have prevailed for the people.  
Ryan Clark 


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