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90 percent of voters think there is no headscarf problem in Turkey: survey

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An overwhelming majority of Turks think there is no problem in Turkey regarding women’s right to wear a headscarf although the issue has recently been brought to the agenda by an opposition leader, the results of an opinion poll have shown.

The “Turkey’s Pulse” survey was conducted in October by the Metropoll polling company across 28 provinces with the participation of 2,145 respondents.

To a question asking, “Do you think there is a headscarf problem for employees of universities or public agencies?” 90.1 percent of respondents said, “No,” while only 8 percent responded in the affirmative and 1.9 percent said they had no idea.

Among voters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has Islamic roots, the percentage of those who think there’s no headscarf problem in Turkey was even higher, standing at 94.4 percent, while it was 89.1 percent among supporters of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).

The headscarf issue has dominated the political debate since CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu proposed a law to guarantee the right to wear a headscarf to alleviate any fears his secular party would reinstate a ban which for long years remained in place, leading to widespread rights violations of headscarf-wearing women.

In response, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has been criticized for abusing the religious sensitivities of the people over the headscarf ban for years, proposed a constitutional amendment and a referendum on guaranteeing a woman’s right to wear a headscarf in public venues. His proposal has been rebuffed by the opposition as being “unnecessary.”

Kılıçdaroğlu also attracted criticism for bringing up an issue which is no longer a problem in the country when the country’s people are overwhelmed by a series of economic and social woes.

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