World Bulletin / News Desk
Women who lost their jobs or were expelled from school due to their headscarves during the days of the Feb. 28, 1997 military coup have filed criminal complaints against the actors of the intervention.
A coalition government led by a now-defunct conservative party was forced to step down by the military on Feb. 28, 1997. Not only were fatal blows dealt to fundamental rights and freedoms after the coup, but democracy and the rule of law were also suspended. The coup introduced a series of harsh restrictions on religious life, with an unofficial but widely practiced ban on the use of the headscarf.
The Ankara Chief Prosecutor's Office is currently carrying out an investigation into the Feb. 28 coup. Around 70 women who were victimized by the headscarf ban have filed complaints against Feb. 28 actors, including then-Chief of General Staff Gen. İsmail Hakkı Karadayı and then-İstanbul University Rector Kemal Alemdaroğlu. Alemdaroğlu was an ardent supporter of the headscarf ban.
One of the women, Hüda Kaya, who along with her daughters was accused in court of “attempting to forcefully dissolve the Turkish Republic,” a charge based on wearing headscarves carrying a possible death sentence when it was laid against them in 1999, said: “We would like to see those who limited people's right to work and receive education during the Feb. 28 process stand trial. These cases [against coup perpetrators] should not just be opened. We want to see their conclusions. Despite positive developments, headscarf-wearing people are still not in all walks of life.”
Although the wearing of headscarves is now permitted at universities, there is an ongoing ban in government buildings, and there is still no headscarved deputy in the Turkish Parliament.
Another woman, Gülsüm Alpay, who lost her job as a teacher due to her headscarf during the Feb. 28 period, said nobody had questioned whether she was a successful teacher or whether her students were pleased with her. “My wearing a headscarf at school was deemed a crime,” she said.Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Ekim 2012, 17:49