Saturday, October 30, 2010

Turkish army chiefs boycott ceremony over Islamic headscarf stunt

Turkey's First Lady has worn the hijab, which covers the head and neck, since adolescence.

The headscarf worn in a way that covers the neck, such as Mrs Erdogan, is viewed as representing political Islam ~ not to be confused with the headscarf which was traditionally worn by many women, tied at the front.

Experience has taught the Turkish that political Islam ~ doesn't want to live side by side with the secular state ~ it wishes to take it over.

So close to the Middle East ~ where the political Islam ~ is not something dreamt up by anti-Islamic bloggers ~ its a reality. But of course Erdogan ~ knows exactly what he is doing. He has made it clear that he wants to create an Islamic state in Turkey. It is difficult to imagine, that putting him on trial on charges of Islamization and then fining him, would have changed his mind very much ~ he will just get smarter. A banquet for his enemies, the generals, who wield ultimate power over the secular state and so him, where his and other party members' wives are wearing headscarves, neatly tied for political Islam ~ is a nice way present a softer version of Islamization, next to the generals ~ but this photo opt failed.

ANKARA (AFP)— Turkish army chiefs boycotted an official ceremony at the presidential palace because the president's wife wore an Islamic headscarf, the press reported Saturday.

The army's top brass were conspicuous by their absence late Friday at a banquet thrown by President Abdullah Gul to commemorate the creation of the modern, secular Turkey in 1923.

The military organised a separate reception at the same time to give the generals an excuse not to accept the president's invitation, the reports said.

The secularist main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) also declined Gul's invitation.

Turkey's First Lady has worn the hijab, which covers the head and neck, since adolescence.

The boycott was criticised by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose wife also wears the headscarf.

The army's generals, who see themselves as custodians of the Turkish republic, regard the headscarf as a threat to the state's secular traditions and are against any relaxation of the ban on wearing them in schools and government buildings.

Hayrunnisa Gul and Emine Erdogan, as well as a number of other wives of leaders of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), all wear headscarves tied tightly over bonnets which completely conceal their neck and hair.

Erdogan, who has led the Islamist-rooted conservative government since 2002 reproached the generals, saying "the armed forces should have been present" at the presidential palace.

In the past, generals have attended the banquet to celebrate the founding of the Turkish republic but this year the president extended the invitation to wives, meaning that women wearing the veil would be present.

Gul, a former AKP cadre, has been pressing for a lifting of the ban on veils since he took office.

The ban on headscarves on university campuses was recently eased by the Higher Education Board (YOK), which used to be a bastion of secularism but is now headed by an Erdogan supporter.

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