MPs Wear Headscarves to Parliament

Not long ago this headline would have caused a violent uproar (as happened when newly elected MP Merve Kavakci tried to take up her post veiled in 1999), but today the four AKP MPs who entered with scarves on their heads were greeted by cell-phone photos and some handshakes. The ban was not a law, but part of the Grand National Assembly’s dress code, which also (and still) bans trousers for women. More than seventy percent of the Turkish population, it appears, wants to move beyond this issue and supports lifting the ban. But as Safak Pavey, a CHP MP, pointed out, the focus on the headscarf masks Turkey’s spotty record on women’s rights. “I expect them to explain why my country is 120th in a global ranking on women’s rights.”

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