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Die Welt - Germany | Monday, February 11, 2008

Turkey eases the ban on headscarves

"No reason to panic," say Dietrich Alexander. "In a democratic decision-making process Turkey has loosened its ban on headscarves. The country has thus liberated itself from the constraints of an anachronistic piece of legislation brought in by Kemal Atatürk more than 80 years ago and thus become a little more honest in its search for a national identity. ... Nevertheless, it would not be good if Prime Minister Erdogan's conservative-Islamic governing party were to use its comfortable parliamentary majority to take further steps perceived by secularly-oriented Turks as breaking taboos -- such as introducing a ban on consuming alcohol in public, favouring graduates of religious Imam-Hatip schools or prescribing prudish regulations for bathing attire. After all it is important for the government to remain on good terms with the country's urban elite."

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