March 22, 2023

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In Turkey, President Erdogan proposed a referendum to guarantee the wearing of the veil

With presidential and legislative elections looming in 2023, the veiling debate has recently flared up in Turkey. Saturday, October 22, was the last act to date, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s proposal to organize a referendum on constitutional change guaranteeing the right to wear the veil in public service, schools and universities.

Turkey, which is Muslim-majority but secular in its constitution, has long been a country where veiling is prohibited in all three institutions. But in 2013 Mr. The restrictions were lifted by Erdogan’s government, which often casts itself as a protector against Muslims. “elite” Secularism means being without Him “received” Such as lifting restrictions on the wearing of the headscarf, would be dangerous.

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While wearing the veil sparked heated debates in the 1990s, no political movement has proposed its ban in Turkey today. But Mr. Erdogan’s proposal aims to avoid being outflanked by his rivals on an important issue.

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Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the main opposition CHP (Republican People’s Party, Social Democratic Party), has proposed legislation that would confirm the right to wear the veil. “We have made mistakes in the past about the veil … it is time to let go of this question”In early October, Mr. Launched Klicktaroglu.

“Come if you dare, let’s put this to a vote (…) Let the nation decide.Thus replied, Saturday, Mr. Erdogan, during a televised intervention.

In response to the Turkish President, Mr. Kilicdaroglu rejected the idea of ​​a referendum in the evening, accusing him of “to laugh” Hungarian nationalist leader Viktor Orbán has become a symbol of the hard right.

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“Do you want to follow Orban, Erdogan? (…) Where are you getting the polls from? If you don’t run, this question is solved. Men can no longer have their say on women’s clothing. Do you have this courage? », he tweeted.

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Created by the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the CHP is known as a staunch defender of secularism. But according to observers, Mr. Kilicdaroglu wanted to show conservative voters – traditionally AKP, Mr. They will vote for Erdogan’s party – they have nothing to fear in the event of a change of power.

Mr. An anti-LGBT provision would also be included in the text that Erdogan now proposes to submit to a referendum. “Strengthen the Protection of the Family”He announced without giving further details.

“A strong family means a strong nation. (…) Can LGBT be in a strong family? no”He is the hammer. “As representatives of the will of the people, we will protect our country from the attacks of wrong and evil currents”he added.

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The world with AFP