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Turkey: President Gül ratifies headscarves at university

24 Febbraio Feb 2008 0100 24 febbraio 2008

On 22 February, President Gül ratified the constitutional amendments of Articles 10 and 42, which allow women with headscarves to attend university

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On 22 February, President Gül ratified the constitutional amendments of Articles 10 and 42, which allow women with headscarves to attend university

After the constitutional amendments to Articles 10 and 42 were passed twice in parliament, President Gül has now ratified the changes which will allow women wearing headscarves to attend university.

Articles 10 and 42 amended
Article 10, which deals with equality before the law, has been amended with the following statement: ?State organs and administrative posts have to abide by the rule of equality before the law in all public procedures and public services.?

Article 42, which relates to the right to education, has been amended thus: ?Nobody can be deprived of exercising their right to higher education for a reason not specified in the law. Restrictions that apply to this right are to be stated by law.?

Gül justified his ratification on the official website of the President?s Office, saying that the amendments did not violate the basic tenets of the Republic or regulations on constitutional amendment.

"Human rights in general must be strengthened"
However, Gül also emphasised that the government had to make an effort to disperse the worries which the reform has created in some sections of society.

?In addition, the efforts to strengthen other fundamental rights and freedoms must be speeded up, and priority must be given to the reforms necessary for full European Union membership.?

Rectors want YÖK regulation change, CHP will appeal
It is not clear whether universities will allow students wearing headscarves into university immediately. Although the chairman of the Higher Education Council (YÖK) Yusuf Ziya Özcan has written to the rectors of all universities asking them to admit women with headscarves as of today, the beginning of the spring semester in many places, many rectors have argued that a change in YÖK regulations is necessary before they will do so.

The initial bill proposed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the National Movement Party (MHP) had included the amendment of Article 17 of YÖK law, dealing with attire at university.

The main opposition party, the Republican People?s Party (CHP) has already announced that it will appeal to the Constitutional Court in order to overrule the amendments.