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Erdogan to abolish headscarf ban in state offices

September 30, 2013, 17:00 UTC+3
New democratic reforms announced on Monday by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will remove the ban on wearing Muslim headscarfs in public institutions
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Photo EPA/KAYHAN OZER/ANADOLU AGENCY

Photo EPA/KAYHAN OZER/ANADOLU AGENCY

ANKARA, September 30. (ITAR-TASS). - New democratic reforms announced on Monday by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will remove the ban on wearing Muslim headscarfs in public institutions and make it possible to teach at schools in foreign languages. The package of democratic reforms that has a strategic meaning for the government is currently a draft bill and will be submitted to Turkey’s parliament in October.

The liberalization in the field of languages concerns private schools, which will be allowed to teach in different languages ​​and dialects used in Turkey. In addition, Erdogan announced the authorities’ decision to allow political propaganda not only in Turkish, which contradicts the current legislation.

Turkish Prime Minister claims the government's decision to lift the ban on wearing headscarves in public institutions will be legalized. Although since the founding of the republic women in headscarves are not allowed in state offices, a significant fraction of civil servants are violating this rule in recent years.

The reforms also include criminal liability for obstruction of religious worship and observance of traditions. "We are introducing the punishment of one to three years in prison for those who oppose the image of a person's life based on his beliefs or faith," Erdogan said.

The Prime Minister paid special attention to plans to reform the electoral system. He noted that this issue still needs to be discussed, in particular, the issue of the percentage threshold required for entering parliament. At present, it is 10%, however, Erdogan suggested to lower it to 5%, or to abandon such practice. "We can leave the current system, but we offer three options for discussion," he said.

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