Turkey: Erdogan proposes a referendum on the wearing of the veil

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Turkey: Erdogan offers a  referendum on wearing veiling

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on September 26

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday proposed a referendum on constitutional change to guarantee the right to wear a veil in public office, schools and universities during an intervention television.

If you have the courage, come on, let's submit this to a referendum […]. Let the nation make the decision, launched the Turkish head of state, addressing the leader of the main opposition party, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who had initially proposed a law to guarantee the right to carry the veil.

In response to the Turkish President, Mr Kilicdaroglu rejected the idea of ​​​​a referendum on Saturday evening, accusing him of imitating the nationalist leader Hungarian Victor Orban, who has become the icon of the hard rights.

Do you intend to imitate Orban, Erdogan? […] Where do you get the referendum from? If you don't run away, this question will be solved. Men will no longer be able to have a say in women's clothing. Do you have this courage? he tweeted.

The veil-wearing debate has recently heated up in Turkey ahead of presidential and legislative elections scheduled for 2023.

With a Muslim majority but having enshrined secularism in its Constitution, Turkey has long been a country where the wearing of the veil was prohibited in the public service, in schools and in universities .

However, restrictions on the wearing of the veil were lifted in 2013 by Mr. Erdogan's government.

The Turkish president often presents himself as the protector of Muslims against secular elites, suggesting that without him, gains such as the lifting of restrictions on the wearing of the veil will be jeopardized.

Unlike the 1990s, when the wearing of the veil provoked heated debates, no political movement today proposes its ban in Turkey.

We have seen errors in the past about the veil… It is time to put this question behind us, launched in early October Mr. Kilicdaroglu, head of the CHP (Republican People's Party, social democrat) and proposed a law to guarantee the right to wear a veil.

Created by the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the CHP is known to be an ardent defender of secularism.

According to observers, Mr. Kilicdaroglu wanted to show conservative voters – who traditionally vote for the AKP, Mr. Erdogan’s party – that they had no nothing to fear in the event of a change of party in power.

Faced with this attempt to claw back votes from the conservatives, Mr. Erdogan retaliated in early October by calling for a constitutional change on the matter.

In the text that the Turkish head of state now proposes to submit to the referendum, there will also be an anti-LGBT provision aimed at strengthening the protection of the family, he announced without giving more details. details.

A strong family means a strong nation. […] Can there be LGBT people in a strong family? No, he hammered.

As representatives of the will of the people, let us protect our nation from the attacks of deviant and evil currents, he added.< /p>

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