BEIRUT

Middle East

Turkish MPs enter parliament with headscarves

Turkey's ruling Ak Party (AKP) lawmakers Nurcan Dalbudak (C) and Sevde Beyazit Kacar (R) attend the general assembly wearing their head scarves at the Turkish Parliament in Ankara October 31, 2013.

ISTANBUL: Four lawmakers wearing headscarves walked into Turkey's parliament in Ankara Thursday, marking the end of a longstanding ban on head coverings in the chamber.

The female members of parliament had announced their intentions after restrictions that were imposed in the early days of the Turkish Republic were recently lifted. The issue is highly charged in a country founded in 1923 under strict secular principals.

The restrictions were removed as part of reforms aimed at boosting democracy unveiled by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in September. The ban remains in place for court judges, prosecutors and military and security personnel.

The four lawmakers are members of Erdogan's Justice and Development Party, abbreviated as AKP.

The Islamic-leaning AKP's reform package garnered criticism from opponents and more liberal constituents.

 

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