Daughter of Turkey’s first headscarved deputy becomes Erdoğan advisor

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Merve Kavakçı (R) and her daughter Mariam Kavakçı.

Mariam Kavakçı, whose mother Merve Kavakçı became Turkey’s first headscarf deputy in the 1999 general election, has been appointed as an advisor to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkish media reports said on Tuesday.

The appointment of Kavakçı as Erdoğan’s advisor was published in the Official Gazette on Tuesday.

Mariam Kavakçı holds a Ph.D. in communication sciences and disorders from the University of Texas at Dallas, according to her curriculum vitae on her personal blog page, while pro-government media outlets also introduce her as a businesswoman.

Merve Kavakçı, who was elected to the Turkish Parliament from the ranks of the now-closed, Islamist Virtue Party (FP), caused an uproar when she wore her headscarf to a swearing-in ceremony in Parliament in what some saw as defiance of the secular Turkish Constitution. At that time Turkish law banned the wearing of Islamic-style headscarves in public institutions.

The incident led to the revoking of Merve Kavakçı’s Turkish citizenship after she was found to have acquired US citizenship without informing the authorities; hence, she was prevented from serving in Parliament.

Merve Kavakçı was appointed as Turkey’s ambassador to Kuala Lumpur in 2017 by Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.

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