July/August 2008 Church & State | AU Bulletin

Turkey’s high court has ruled that a recent legal change allowing Muslim women to wear headscarves at universities is unconstitutional.

The Constitutional Court said that the change violated principles of secularism set forth in Turkey’s constitution. Headscarves had been banned from campuses in the 1990s.

Many people see the decision as a reflection of the nation’s partisan politics. The Republican People’s Party called the verdict a “triumph of justice,” while the Justice and Development Party, a group with roots in Islam, defended the scarves as a matter of individual rights.

The ruling could alter the future of many women in Turkey. A 26-year-old woman told The New York Times she cried when hearing the verdict.

“There is no way for me in Turkey now,” she said.