The Politics of Veiling in Turkey and in Snow

Turkey is a secular country.
Rural or urban women take place in
social life
Unveiled women vs Veiled women
Along with unvelied women, some of the women in
Turkey cover themselves with either traditional-old
head scarves or new-Islamist head scarves.
traditional-new veiling
Dressing style has been changing since
1980’s in accordance with market
Women in Turkey
Ideology of State: Kemalism
After the foundation of the modern Republic of
Turkey in 1923, the state implemented a series of
reforms in order to establish a secular state instead
of a religious one. One of them was to adopt a
dress code like the European dress code. In 1924,
the state passed a bill regarding the adoption of a
hat instead of the traditional fez and other
traditional head coverings, a ban which under the
current constitution may not be lifted.
Transition from veil to hat, 1925.
Hat Law of 1925
The Hat Law of
1925 introduced the
use of Western style
hats instead of the fez.
Legislation did not
explicitly prohibit veils
or headscarves and
focused instead on
banning fezzes and
turbans for men.
Ataturk’s wife showed up in burqa.
Government did not
banned women to
wear burqa instead
some municipals
between 1935-1939.
Coupe in 1960
New constitution was introduced in 1961.
New constitution gave more democratic rights in
accordance with the political developments in the
West. However, religious citizens could not benefit
from this liberal rights.
School principals and academics at the universities
did not allow the girls to get in the school and
attend the classes with their head scarfs.
Hatice Babacan
In 1968, a female university student, Hatice
Babacan, refused to remove her headscarf and
from then onwards, although there was not a
uniformly applied ban, some problems began to
arise for students wearing headscarves at
Hatice Babacan
Coupe in 1980
Turkey banned to headscarf in the universities in
Headscarf was banned in1984
With a constitutional principle of official secularism,
the Turkish government has
traditionally banned women who wear headscarves
from working in the public sector.
female lawyers and journalists,
and others working on state premises.
Students could not attend the classes
with their headscarves
Rulings of courts
In 2000, Nuray Bezirgan, a Turkish female student,
wore a headscarf at her college final exams. A Turkish
court sentenced her to six months jail.
The European Court of Human Rights upheld the ban in
2004, saying the rules on dress were "necessary" and
did not violate the European Convention on Human
In October 2006, the European Court of Human Rights
upheld the university ban again, rejecting a complaint
filed by another Turkish university student, Leyla Şahin
Trakya University April 27, 2011
In the parliament:
In May 1999, the ban on headscarves in the public
sphere hit the headlines when Merve Kavakçı was
prevented from taking her oath in the National
Assembly because she wore a headscarf.
She was the newly elected of Istanbul of the proIslamist Virtue Party.
Dispute on headscarf
AK Party and headscarf
After winning a referendum in September 2010, the
ruling AKP vowed to support any student who was
disciplined for wearing the headscarf on a
university campus.
While this goes against the Constitutional Court
ruling of 2008, most universities have started
permitting students to wear the headscarf on
Politicians’ wives with their
In October 2006, Turkish president Ahmet Necdet
Sezer refused to allow AKP politicians whose wives
wore headscarves to a ball on Republic Day.
President and his covered wife host receptions
Any politician accompany with their covered wife
can attend any official receptions.
September, 2012
Republic Day Ceremony
Snow means “Kar” in Turkish
Ka- Kar- Kars
Quran (33:59)
the women of the
believers to bring
down over themselves
[part] of their outer
garments. That is more
suitable that they will
be known and not be
abused. And ever is
Allah Forgiving and
Secular women perceive headscarf as
a symbol of suppression of women in
If I had to go into a
classroom full of
covered girls, I would
not dare go in
uncovered. I’d wear a
headscarf even if I did
not want to. (44)
I grew up Istanbul
Nisantasi, among
society people. I
wanted to be like
Europeans. I could not
see how I reconsile my
becoming a Europan
with a God who
requires women to
wrap themselves in
scarves. (96)
Head scarf and identity construction
Headscarf protect
women from harassment,
rape and degradation
The veil saves women
from the animal instincts
of men in the street (45).
When a girl accepted
head scarf as the word
of God and symbol of
faith (121).
They do not have to live
like sex object (45).
Their mother and father
brought up them to be
as they are. So did
religious instruction they
received during their
state education (113).
Conflict between state and individuals
State maintains its hegemony by its Repressive
State Apparatus" (RSA)
The basic function of the RSA (heads of state,
government, police, courts, army, etc.) is to
intervene and act in favor of the ruling class.
Since the ruling class control the power of state,
the RSA is controlled by them. (Louise Althusser)
If there is a threat of its values which construct
the state, the state turns to increasingly physical
and severe measures in response : police force,
and ultimately military intervention.
Ideological State Apparatus gives
power to hegemonic forces.
Ideological State Apparatuses" (ISAs), which
include the family, the media, religious
organizations, and the education system.
The State is an “educator” in the sense that its
tendency is to create a new civilization type or
level. It operates according to a plan, it impels,
incites, requests, punishes. These actions lead to a
“passive” revolution, in other words, to a constant
reorganization of the power of the State in the
sense of preserving its hegemony through the
exclusion of the masses over the economical and
political institutions.
Islamist Militans
Killer of the directorate of Institute of Education was
related to the international Islamist groups.” Since
the freedom Fighters for Islamic Justice condemned
you to death.” (46)
Blue in the novel. Green was in real
politics in Turkey.
He served for MIT
(intelligence service)
MIT admitted to Green.
Religious dress was banned in the
public sphere for religious zealots by
law in 1934.
Sufi lodges was banned in 1925.
Sufi lodges are used by Muslims to practice rituals
of a Sufi order. Shortly after the Republic of Turkey
was proclaimed, the government banned all Sufi
lodges, convents and visits to tombs of prominent
Islamic scholars as part its drive to modernize.
Sufi lodges have been functioning underground
since 1925.
Sheikh Efendi
The Light movement is
the largest religious
network in Turkey.
NECIP FAZIL (died in 1983)
Religious poet, novelist,
Philosopher and
In the Sufi Naqshbandi
Religious and Secular Characters
Sheik Saadettin
Sunay Zaim
Zeki Demirkol
Turgut Bey
Ipek and Kadife (Silk and Velvet)
Kadife (velvet) is a
romantic revolutionist.
She was caught by the
Islamic ideology.
Ipek (silk) is more
valuable than velvet,
although both are
She respects religious
people but she is not
one of them.
September, 2013
Dispute has not been
solved between
Islamist and secular
students in Turkey.

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