ANKARA (Turkish Daily News)–Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal challenged Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan Wednesday by accusing him of "dressing the state in headscarf."
Turkey is passing though a historic moment, said Baykal, adding that the Republic is experiencing a rupture.
"The headscarf discussions have revealed a truth. It means a lot more than a group of young girls gaining the right to receive a university education while covered with a headscarf," said Baykal. "This is a process with long-term consequences that will effect 70 million people."
The headscarf involves no less than the identity of the Turkish state, he continued. "It involves the shaping of the society our future generations will live in. We are witnessing the destruction of democracy by using its principles," he said.
"Prime Minister Erdogan said in February 1994 that upon their arrival to power, the chador will come into fashion and ‘the 21st century will be an age of systems based on religion,’ Baykal reiterated Erdogan’s earlier remarks, noting that they indicated a planned action.
Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) initiatives to allow the Islamic headgear in universities stem from their determination to implement a religious lifestyle in Turkey, said Baykal.
"Conceiving of universities as religious lifestyle exhibitions, not as cubicles of free thought, is a basic diversion," Baykal charged. "When religion is isolated from its context as a relation between the individual and Allah, to be recast as a lifestyle, it will permeate not only schools, but also the state institutions."