Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on the leader of the Turkish opposition, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, to work on including the issue of the headscarf in the country’s constitution, instead of just proposing the issuance of a law that guarantees the freedom to wear the veil.
This came in a speech he delivered on Wednesday during his participation in the meeting of the Parliamentary Bloc of the Justice and Development Party in the Turkish Parliament in the capital, Ankara.
Erdogan explained that the AKP governments “have removed the issue of the headscarf ban, which once reached the level of injustice, from Turkey’s agenda.”
He added that the text presented by the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) to Parliament as a bill on not violating the freedom to wear the veil is far from solving the problem in the desired way.
Erdogan addressed opposition leader Kilicdaroglu, saying: “If you are sincere in this proposal, come to work on including the issue of the veil in the constitution, instead of just passing a law, because the law can be easily changed, unlike the constitution.”
President Erdoğan questioned Kilicdaroglu’s credibility, saying, “This parliament witnessed in the past the expulsion of a female representative from its hall just because she entered with her veil and those who expelled her are your predecessors in the Republican People’s Party.”
Erdogan stressed that the issue of the veil is no longer on Turkey’s agenda, thanks to the struggle of his (Justice and Development) governments and the measures he has taken.
He pointed out that the issue of dress in general and the veil in particular is a natural right for citizens that does not require a law or a constitution.
He added, “Kilicdaroglu was at the forefront of those who filed a lawsuit against the former head of the Higher Education Council for abuse of power for saying: ‘Lift the headscarf ban’.”
During Erdogan’s speech, scenes of the arbitrary practices that veiled women were subjected to in the country during the period of governments that preceded the arrival of Justice and Development to power in 2002 were presented.