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Turkish headscarf ruling blow to basic rights: HRW PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 09 June 2008

Ankara, June 07 ( - A decision by Turkey's top court to annul a government reform which lifted a ban on Muslim headscarves at universities is a blow to freedom of religion and other fundamental rights, Human Rights Watch said on Saturday.

Turkey's Constitutional Court overturned late on Thursday a reform which would have allowed students to wear the Muslim headscarf in universities. Analysts said the decision increased the chances that the AK Party would be closed down for alleged Islamist activities in a separate case at the same court.

"This decision means that women who choose to wear a headscarf in Turkey will be forced to choose between their religion and their education," Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

"This is a truly disappointing decision and does not bode well for the reform process," Cartner said.

The U.S.-based Human Rights Watch also criticized the ruling AK Party for failing to redraft Turkey's constitution entirely, which it said failed to protect human rights, despite launching a plan to do so after it was re-elected last year.

The secularist establishment, including army generals and judges, suspects the AK Party of harboring a hidden Islamist agenda. The party denies the accusations. hrs.

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