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    Mehmet Y Yilmaz: Not the business of the Religious Affairs Ministry either!

    Hürriyet Haber
    13.02.2006 - 12:01 | Son Güncelleme: 13.02.2006 - 12:01

    I am not of the belief that a grown-up person, whether or not they work for the government, can be told how they should or should not dress. I think that people can dress as they will, following the generally accepted traditions of the society in which they live. Those who want can cover their heads, and those who wish can wear mini-skirts! These are decisions that people make on their own, and others have to respect them. It's a matter of individual human rights.

    Which is why it is impossible for me to agree with the recent decision by the State Council (known as the Danistay in Turkey-a legal arm of the government) in reference to whether or not a teacher who puts on a headscarf on her way to or from school can be made principal of the school. The Prime Minister too is against the State Council decision, but his words against the decision are actually in defense of an entirely different restrictive mentality.
     
    Here is what Recep Tayyip Erdogan said when he criticized the latest State Council "turban" decision: "This is not the business of the State Council. This is a decision for the Religious Affairs Ministry." But I would like to point out that just as setting down laws about what people can or cannot wear is not an acceptable task for the State Council in a secular democractic society, neither is it the business of the Religious Affairs Ministry. If this business were, as Erdogan said, the business of the Religious Affairs Ministry, then women living in the Republic of Turkey would have to wear clothing appropriate for covered religious belief.
     
    When the Prime Minister said these words, he was not speaking like the leader of a secular, democratic republic, but like the mullah of a sharia-driven country. Oh well, this is just another example of how deeply-or not-assimilated the idea of secularity is in this country.

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