In a SPIEGEL interview, prominent Turkish archeologist Muazzez Ilmiye Cig discusses her country's move to lift the headscarf ban on college campuses and why she feels it represents a "step back" for her country.
Supporters of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Anatolia: "What is really at stake is power and political interests!"
Hardly any other issue is so divisive in Turkey as the headscarf. For some it is an expression of individual religiousness, while others see it as a declaration of war against the secular republic. The parliament in Ankara, which is dominated by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamic conservative AKP, voted last Wednesday to lift the ban on wearing the headscarf at universities.
On Saturday, parliament voted overwhelmingly to approve the two constitutional amendments. In lifting the ban, Erdogan made good on a campaign promise he had made five years ago. Leading up to the parliament's decision, tens of thousands of secular Turks took to the streets to express their support for keeping the ban. The amendments have been sent to the office of President Abdullah Gül, who is expected to agree to the changes.
In an interview with SPIEGEL, Muazzez Ilmiye Çig -- the 93-year-old doyenne of Turkish archeology, and one of Turkey's best-known opponents of the headscarf -- discusses the development and its ramifications for the secular nation.
Sunday, February 17, 2008