America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

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03 February 2008

Turks rally in Ankara to support headscarf ban

How long before going without a headscarf becomes a crime? How long before a new "morality police" emerges? How long before Turkish women are compelled to either cover up or suffer violent consequences?
People, seen through a Turkish national flag, attend a rally to support the ban on headscarves, at the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the soldier-statesman who founded the secular Turkish republic, in Ankara February 2, 2008. Secular Turks rallied on Saturday against a plan by the government to allow women students to wear the Muslim headscarf in university, a move they say will usher in a stricter form of Islam in Turkey. REUTERS/Umit Bektas


marcus said...

The government shouldn't deny someone an education (or employment) based on their religious beliefs. There is a big difference between supporting equality and compelling someone to cover up. I'm not a fan of AKP, but repelling this ban is long over due.

the Husband said...

No its not. No one is banning anyone from an education because of their beliefs. They are banned from displaying an alleged symbol of their religion in the University. If my religion involved snorting cocaine whist dancing naked to child porn I am sure that would be banned. Universities are where you go to learn. Unfortunatley a University education would be completely wasted on the people who are claiming they refuse to go to University because they cannot wear a headscarf as the ability to learn requires an open and inquiring mind.....QED Watson.

marcus said...

>alleged symbol
Most women who cover themselves don't see it as a symbol of their religion, but a requirement of it*. They shouldn't have to choose between an education and hell (from their prospective).

Even if it where just a symbol, they should still be allowed to cover themselves as a matter of freedom of expression/speech. We all know Turkey can improve in that area.

*Being a requirement is debatable and I would agree that it is not.

the Husband said...

My point precisely. They see it as a requirement, which it is not. Therefore learn your religion before you crowd the halls of Universities. Lets face it Muslims are hardly the most tolerant people so once this change happens ten the freedom of others not to wear a headscarf will be challenged immediately and the pressure to conform or be considered "un Turkish" will be immense. I assume you will be at the forefrnt of the fight to protect that that religion is personal and not a means to control.

Finduk O. said...

hey you guys, i'd like to give you an example of what this headscarf in schools could mean. i'm sure you guys have heard of examples of being knifed for not fasting (that one is a requirement of islam, unlike headscarves)....

well my example is less violent, but should be as thought-provoking to you, in this situation.

while living in ankara, i would go to anitkabir (in the picture that murat posted with this post) really often. like every weekend.

i lived a year in ankara BEFORE akp came into power and in the consecutive year AFTER they came into power.

during one of visits to anitkabir after akp came into power, i was smack in the middle between ismet inonu's grave and ataturk's grave, right in the middle of that open space that murat posted the picture of.

a woman with a turban/headscarf approached me and said "you might a well have come outside naked, you'd like men to touch you right?"

her words were accompanied with the very nasty look that holier-than-thou religious people can give you.

i was wearing a tank top and shorts. i had walked to anitkabir from my house in cankaya (quite a walk, trying doing it in a headscarf and you'll probably be sopping wet halfway there).

anyway, my response to the lady was, "we are in anitkabir, this is my land and i have the right to dress as i please, as do you"

her eyes widened, she sort of looked around her and then, continuing to snicker, just walked away.

it is my right to wear shorts (they weren't even short either) and a tanktop (no cleavage whatsoever,it was high cut) outside of my home. in my own country.

there are no laws that make it illegal.

what there is is societal pressure of the ignorant that equate how you dress with how likely you are to want to have sex with a man you are not married with. THAT is what it amounts to to these people. it IS just a piece of fabric, not a requirement of religion. and it is a piece of fabric that represents having good morals---except i think it probably should be tied up to cover another part of the female body other than their hair, if they are so concerned about being chastity.

they can dress however they want, i dont care. if i cannot go to my college classes in a bikini, or with a tshirt with a gun on it, because of the public school's dresscode, then these people also must follow the dresscode. because they are not above me when it comes to rights. we ARE equal, although they would not like to admit such a thing.

Ert@n said...

Marcus you have a good head on your shoulders. I enjoy the freedoms of living in Australia. i see many people wearing there religious "symbols" to public, private schools and Universities and colleges.

We had an issue with the headscarf that a couple of right wing nut bags brought up and it was quashed with a "make sure the head scarf is in the colors of the school uniform".. The end.

The right wing nut bags were arguing that the headscarf will be used as a tool to bring in sharia law and that Islamic fundamentalists will use it to promote terrorism in schools.

Only backwards thinking people will argue the headscarf will bring in unsocial behavior from the masses.

Gulay said...

ertan, unfortunately the current government and the majority of people in Turkey who say they are muslim are exactly that, backward.

Ert@n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ert@n said...

Gulay: thats a bit exuberant. To label majority as backwards. On what basis to you percieve this to be true.

If you have come to the assumption that the law will be extended to a MUST WEAR IN PUBLIC law is around the corner than my assumption is your not as smart as you think you are.

Don't be a chicken little and think the sky is falling.

Your bigotry has made you blind to see that for a change women are being treated with some fairness in Turkey.

Gulay said...

ertan, women being treated with fairiess???? you mean wearing a badge that makes it clear you are belonging and have no reasoning of your own, if thats fairness then I hate to see what is not fairness.. what I would like to see is women in turkey standing up for themselves and saying this is not Iran, we are not run by religious morons, I will not do what you men say I have to but, no all I hear is its a human right to have an education even I am too stupid to learn about my own so called religion, just how many of the girls saying this know what they are doing or really believe this crap....bullshit, take off your scarf and learn, leave it on and don't learn, oh and by the way as a turkish woman standing up for myself I think your comments are totally fucking patronizing and your post on this subject is complete crap as you obviously have no idea of the history of the country and why the ban was there in the first place...

Ert@n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ert@n said...

gulay: Get a grip on life.

Fairness as in being allowed to practice religion and get an education.

Its a womens right to practice what ever religion she wants.. its not a badge of what ever you think it is.

So you want all women to be atheist in Turkey.

You are obviously a one tracked scaremongering fool who can not and will not see the merits of this ruling.

The more you comment back to me the less educated you sound. Please I am seriously laughing at you. If all women regardless of religion and race were to think like you, maybe you should all just stay in the kitchen.

I know of many educated women who see this as a good step towards women in the education system.

I think i do know a bit about my heritage. But its obvious you do not have one clue about "your so called religion" I really don't care why the ban was introduced. All i care about is its going away.

Keep screaming your hatred all the way from New Jersey. You ppl living in the US have lost any sense of tolerance. Is it me or have all you turks in the US become right wing Looneys

My final words......

Majority voted for this government and the government is trying to change a law allowing Practicing Muslim women into universities to achieve and education and be something other than a piece of meat or a house wife. Not turning Turkey into Iran.

Metin said...

This is an example of why Democracy doesn't work when it produces results we don't like...and it goes both ways.

A simple majority of 51% has the right to rule over 49%. This is not right.

And a Republic form of government is different than a democracy, where the rights of the 1% minority is stil protected.

Individual and civil liberties need to be protected, in each and every case.

The right of an individual to wear a 'religious' symbol to get an education can be accommodated, as long as if the rights of the person who doesn't wish to see covered girls in his school can also be addressed.

My solution, allow 'religious' people to go to 'private' religious school where they can cover all they want.

Integration never worked, and never will.

Gulay said...


There are a variety of other issues that could be usefully delat with to make ALL women in Turkey seen as more than pieces of meat. Are you aware that a Turkish woman cannot marry anywhere in the world until she has been divorced for at least 300 days unless she obtains a court order. A Turkish man on the other hand faces no such restrictiona, Turkish Women are regularly paid less than men for the same job. Surely issues like this are more meaningful or respecting human rights.

To my mind wearing a head scarf is actually a symbol that you want to be treated like a piece of meat by a religion that allows no dissent and no discussion, witness todays decsion by Arab countries to place restrictions on what satellite TV stations can broadcast. It also shows that you are consider you cannot decide for yourself what should be your outward show of religious identity.

As for your comments on my character you really are a condescnending patronsing piece of shit. If all men were like you us womnen would keep our legs closed and let you starve to death because it is attitudes like yours that propogate the desire to force women to conform and obey because that is what this is all about.

Metin, for once we agree.

Gulay said...

If you dont care why the ban was enforced then you really should be ashamed and consider satyng in Australia as you have no clue about your history.

Metin said...

Ertan: Where/How do you get to apply the label 'right wing looneys' to all of the Turks living in the U.S.??

Some of the Turks living here (U.S.) wouldn't know the difference between right wing 'loonies' and left wing 'loonies.'

And since when did 'right wing' become anti-libertarian and anti-democratic??

I may not be a right winger, but I do have to clear the issue. Not all Turks think and vote the same, and it's not right to be labeling them the way you do, strictly based on the few comments left here, some of whom are probably more liberal and more to the left of Kennedy. And that might surprise you.

Metin said...

Gulay: I wasn't aware at all that we ever disagreed.


Coming from a fellow GS fan, that hurts . . .

Gulay said...

errm it might have been the Husband on cycling and guns......

Ert@n said...

Metin: If you read properly i have made an assumption based on what i have read on many blogs.

And yes you are right about government. As you will see soon with the elections. The democrats can have millions of votes more than the republicans yet the republicans will win either because they have will have won more states with less population than the east coast and west coast states or it will be rigged with the Diebold voting machines. I love the land of the free

Gulay: Yes I am a piece of shit, But a tolerant one. So thank you for the compliment. (when one starts to swear to get a point across... Not really bright is it)

With all those other issues try to get the government to change them.. (womens wages is an issue in every country so thats an invalid point your trying to get across about Turkish women's rights) I'm discussing education and your adding in other issues which i am not addressing.. Why don't i add my 2 cents in with other issues such as compulsory army for men and why not women? Go on and argue that point.

To all.. I consider Australia to be ten fold better than most western country in the world.. Canada is a close second. So i actually will take your advice and stay here.

And me knowing history of my Turkish heritage...... Pfff. Good one love. Yeah all i know is Gallipoli and thats it.

What do you think all i do is look at porn and read about conspiracies and football?

If only you know whats on my BOOK shelf.

and here come the rolling credits..
and now the band is playing the closing music.

Finduk O. said...

ertan, you're one weird person. to think that you find a curse word less intelligent or more offensive than telling a woman to go back to her kitchen (either do that or accept that she is a "piece of meat") is astounding.

weird, very weird. so i won't waste any more of my time trying to commuicate with you.

metin, i sometimes dont agree with the way you phrase stuff (cant think what it is off of the top of my head) but i agree with gulay that you worded the issue beautifully. go to private schools you said, end of story.

a secular government has no right deciding if the headscarf is "practicing religion" for sunni muslisms. i realize the government has a ministry of religion and pays sunni imams to do their religious duties.

while ignoring and sometimes disallowing alevi people and people of other theisms to practice the fundamentals of their religion.

the headscarf is not a fundamental---there are 5 fundamentals, the piece of shiny patterned fabric is not one of the 5. there is even an issue of how much you should be covered when you pray---religious people cant agree if you head needs to be covered 2/3 or 3/4 or whatever.

this is not something for government to weigh in on. the only thing it can offer is freedom of all religions.

that includes agnostics who must go to college in a bikini because that is what their religion requires of them (and also because its so damn hot in the kitchen). tongue in cheek.

thanks for keeping me entertained you guys.

Murat Altinbasak said...

Sorry to have kept my nose out of this one guys.. I know that once I throw my hat in the ring, it will become an obsession for me to keep up with everyone's comments. I don't have that kind of time right now, maybe in a few weeks..

Ert@n said...


my quote is "The more you comment back to me the less educated you sound. Please I am seriously laughing at you. If all women regardless of religion and race were to think like you, maybe you should all just stay in the kitchen."

If you like to pick and choose what i type than good on you.

Agnostics and Bikinis??? show me any form of evidence saying/writing that a Bikini is a for of religious wear for agnostics.

In the 50's a bikini was seen as a form of nudity on US beaches and you are making up false facts saying it religious wear. OK u might be using a really weak form of sarcasm and it shows that your views on the Sunni form of Islam is negative.

When i was in University I did not see one female in a bikini or nude.
Have you? I saw every single different religon and non religons.


I have seen Sheikh's conversing with Jew's, Muslims conversing with Buddhists talking about each others religions..

University is a melting pot of diverse minds learning from each other not just subject matter from classes they attend.

Before you try to argue about Uni's and privates schools attend a University.

Metin said...

Ertan: Please educate yourself about the Constitution of the United States before you make comments that are not facts re:Election process here in the U.S.

The electoral college is based on the population of each state. It is not true that you can win a lot of states with smaller populations and win elections as you suggest.

As for the electronic polling, I do tend to have conspiracy theories about that myself.

As for the Democrats choosing a woman (who is from the past - a Clintonite - and not a real New Yorker but nevertheless a Senator, and suggesting she would be President on 'day-1' for someone who has no national and foreign experience) and an African-American (a junior Senator) who likes to talk about change and hope in rhetorical ways (without any substance - but who cares - he's a great orator), it would seem they are throwing the elections the Republicans' way...

By the way, here in the U.S., one can be a Conservative Democrat (see the South and Bible belt) and a Liberal Republican (see Rhode Island and New England states or Blumenthal in NYC).

There is definitely a difference between neocons and neocrats. Get that straight before you educate us here in the U.S. from Australia.

As for your comment about Australia being ten fold better with Canada second. I find that amusing and laughable. The U.S. on a bad day is a lot better place than Australia.

This is the land of opportunity. Instead of sitting in the corner and criticize and expect handouts and complain about the lack of this and the lack of that and blah blah blah, I choose to blame the people who are doing the complaining for the lack of their success in life, as opposed to blaming the Government and expecting it to come through for them at the expense of the same successful people.

Conversely, the 'successful' people do not really want to hear nor care about people who can't help themselves.

As for individual liberties being eroded (voluntarily) at the expense of 'fear,' I happen to believe this is a worldwide problem. The new world order is coming. And unless Libertarians can do something about it, Australia will be included as well as the rest of the world in giving up individual rights at the expense of popularists' rights and the rights of the simple majority. which is wrong.

As for the get an education comment, why would you assume that only uneducated people leave comments here. Some of us are still edumacating!!!

Good Day . . . and relax a little . . .

Gulay said...


your comments are very insulting and it appears you have one of the major problems assoaicted with many turkish males. If as a woman we disagree with you you shout and rant and tell us to get back to the kitchen and say get your headscarf on, breed and show servility and humility, typical. As for education I have a Masters degree and I happen to bleive that in a country where state and religion are meant to be separate that religious symbolism has any place in State run Universities. How difficult is it for you to see that. If anything this change will lead to more problems, how long before we hear about Headscarf students complaining about having co-ed classes, about having male techers, having to see pictures of male bodies during art and anatamoy classes for example? And how long before some of the more intolerant male students start forming vigilante groups to question girls not wearing headscarves and the name calling and assumptions on their morality that will inevitably happen, ie no headscarf = slut, headscarf = good girl who keeps their virginty intact by allowing anal sex only. Oh wait this is already happening with the reports of people being refused access to public transportation during Ramadan becasue they were chewing gum or were beaten for eating simit becasue "This is a Muslim country". What I find really laughable is that the focus is on the headscarf, its okay to wear skintight jeans, high heels, makeup and a headscarf because its your hair that preserves your modesty, please the guys will be looking at your ass.

As for Australia being a beacon lets examine that for a moment shall we, The Site Asutralian Policy (currently being revived as the Gvt is making it easier for English speaking immigrants as they obvioulsy consider that there are too many foreigners there, the treatment of the ABos, the treatment of immigrants, is stick them on a rock then deport them, high tax, Unions, John Howard, addiction to pokies and meat pies...deadly snakes and spiders and Fosters. I guess you're right heaven.

Murat Altinbasak said...

Make no mistake, I read every single comment posted here (sometimes at times when I shouldn't be- damn you, Blackberry!) and I should delete every single comment left to date except Gulay's last one. Spot-on Gulay.. I salute in your general direction.


Finduk O. said...

yeah, i'm going to agree with gulay and murat's last comments.

i dont think i have to put forth any credentials of education or wordly experience to make my point of view more valid than anyone else's point of view.

people that respect you, do so not because of any credentials you put forth, but because they themselves are respectable people.

if i have to tell ertan that i have degrees in materials engineering, in physics, and in math, along with currently being on campus for another degree (ms) in logistics, that i have my own company making prosthetic legs for amputees (your last article was especially interesting to me murat for this reason), and that i have worked in the united nations to help those suffering (inside and outside of turkey), i doubt it will make him come forth with even an apology at his rudeness.

lastly, metin is right. "relax a little" is a really really really really good mantra---it makes the weirdness in all of us sort of unravel and go away a bit. i highly recommend it to all :)

thanks murat for this medium---sorry my rants are so long. i like hearing other people's point of view (weird or not) and this is a great place for that.

Murat Altinbasak said...

Issues with Ertan aside, let me comment on the "edumacational" side of this and enlighten everyone to a little known fact. This is the blog of a high school graduate. I didn't get a degree. I learned to be a great cabinet maker and carpenter, and from there, I rose to the top of my profession- I manage woodworking projects of about $5-6 million annually for the biggest and best millwork company in the Northeast. I might add that I barely graduated high school because at the time, I was being groomed to be a professional bike racer and school was nothing but a drag on my training program..
Talk of education is always a big turn off for me. Show me what you've DONE, not what you've learned.. Show me applied knowledge. Not to pick on Gulay, but it has taken three years for me to discover she has a masters degree, and that's classy because most every obnoxious spoiled little Turkish kid going to Brown University will make their educational credentials known to you before you're even done shaking hands for the first time. [Turks especially] ask me all the time: "Senin derecen nedir?". to which I reply: "98.6 F.. Kidding, I'm a cabinet maker". (I haven't built a cabinet in 12 years though..) So again I salute Gulay and Finduk for not using education as a means to win or to end an argument. My two cents.

Ert@n said...

ok let me finish this off.. I'm not apologizing for any comments i have made.

Secondly congratulations on all of your education and careers.

thirdly this has turned stale. I throw up the education and headscarf and then i get attacked from you guys with the most ridiculous come back remarks that really do not see fit to come out of masters degree holders and so forth.. And a person working for the UN would have more compassion. But selling products to the UN doesn't really count as working for the UN.

OK about the Aussie thing. I can rant on and on about many things such as the city i live in Melbourne has been voted in the top 10 many a times as the most livable city in the world.. show me when an American town has cracked the top 10.

Our Animals might be dangerous in the BUSH (Australia is not one big outback) But your BUSH is dangerous to the world.

OK lets go to just what happened recently.. gun control. Maybe you guys should stop worrying about the headscarf in Turkey and worry about guns in Unis in the States. Look up

and oh my god (sorry about the god you people get offended) is that one for Australia and how many for the States.

ABO's OK that's very offensive because i have many indigenous friends and its like calling your African American mates the N word.

The New government has made a formal apology about the treatment of The Aboriginal people from the former governing parties.

The unions are a good thing for the workers not what you are fed by your mainstream media. They gave us safer and better working conditions and pay increases and make sure Australian owned companies must have majority of the workforce in this country and not offshore unlike the states with the unemployment rate rising IN the states and the minimum wage so low.

and you added fosters meat pie and john howard and foreigners.. Well we got rid of Howard who was Bushes lapdog and the foreigners issue, Illegal immigrants and refugees are to different kettle of fish so i don't know where your getting your info from but in Melbourne we have over 200 different nationalities and are making home to many refugees from Sudan and Somalia. In the states don't you guys have KKK and pro Christian groups who want to rid the country of all foreigners. What about the treatment of anyone that looks remotely Arab, tell me how are they treated?

Fosters... this one you guys took time to pick up on. Australia exports the beer we don't drink. The real good stuff is here. i would like to add that Australia, well Melbourne is in the top 5 cities that has the best drinkable tap water in the world.

Taxes. I'm not complaining about taxes. When i was unemployed at one stage the government helped me out with unemployment benefits, now its time to pay back the government. We need roads built, BRIDGES REPAIRED and if we had LEVIES AROUND A CITY THAT NEEDED TO THE WATER OUT our taxes pay to fix that. But hey Australia doesn't spend trillions on a war to save face because if it loses a certain war "THE TERRORISTS" win. But hey If i get sick in Australia i don't have to worry about private health insurance i can see my GP because i pay taxes. OH medication cheaper than a dozen beers.

And the Public education system in US of A is probably the worst system in the West. No child left behind scam doesn't work. Majority of the underprivileged turn to crime because the education they receive is inadequate. dems be no lies.

Tell me Whats so great about living in the states other than super sized everything and that security guards have to roam the streets of gated suburbs and that one day you will get mugged, even shot. Whats so great. The worst day in the States is better than the best day in Australia. in This new millenium alone the US has had more murders, more flooding, Terrorist attacks and Wildfires, Price increases of everything from groceries to amenities, police corruption, political corruption than Australia. PLEASE as Human as possible tell me, explain to me why it is better.

I will repeat this again Melbourne has been voted twice as the worlds most livable city and been in top ten many times (except last year in the top 20) and many Australian City's fill in the rest of the top Ten each year, No US cities is there.

Muslims have adopted the crescent as the symbol of Islam from our ancestors the Osmanlis. When Turkey became a republic they still had the symbol on the flag.

So keep arguing about turkey and secularism in the government. If you truly want no traces of Islam in turkey Then maybe you should ask the flag to be changed. (please don't make any childish comment about my last remarks. i do love Turkey, i don't need your out of context remarks)

Now this might make you happy. I will not comment on any of your issues again. I see lies and bigotry and hypocrisy in all of your comments. BYE. enjoy.

Anonymous said...

riumErtan: There are too many fallacies in your latest (and last?) comment that I choose to simply regard it as your opinion(s) loosely based on facts that you simply decided to pick and choose to argue your point(s).

Unlike in some places around the world, you are entitled to your opinion, and I am mine. That's called officially the freedom of expression, and unofficially the respect among human beings.

Before you make 'general comments about comparing apples to oranges, as well as misconceptions about the United States, I urge you to study the Constitution, as well as the Bill of Rights,specifically the right to bear arms.

We are not too quick to penalize all for the ills of some. And some of us don't even believe that a universal health care would work, at least in a country of 300 million. Some of us actually believe that states should have decision making power over the federal government.

Instead, we encourage people to take advantage of opportunities that are available to most people, and get successful themselves, unless they are 'success-challenged.' And in that case, some of us think it's OK for handouts to be reserved for such people at our expense, whereas others feel they should just go away and die, with some in between.

The United States, like it or not, is my home. I choose to live here in Southern California. I would not live anywhere else, although I would love to visit some more of those places in the top 20.

Call me selfish, but I believe in positivity. And with all the ills and irregularities of our justice, legal, or political system(s) here in the U.S., I still believe it to be the best in the world. We're a nation of 300 million individuals, not 20 million inhabitants.

And that my friend is simply my opinion.

Get your facts straight before you twist your opinions and present them as facts. If you keep doing that, then I suggest you start your own blog.

Enjoy your weekend.