The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

The veil in Turkey :
Maintaining women as slaves

Feb 18, 2008

On Saturday February 9, the Turkish Parliament adopted a constitutional amendment proposed by the AKP, the party of the prime minister. This amendment authorizes women wearing the Islamic veil to have access to the university, something the once-secular Turkish state had forbidden up till now. The vote, thanks to support of an extreme right-wing nationalist party, was 75% in favor.

The government is playing to the most reactionary part of the electorate, creating a diversion to take people’s minds off growing economic difficulties.

The following article was translated and excerpted from an article written by comrades in Turkey who publish the journal Sinif Mucadelesi (Class Struggle).

Even as the entire world worries about economic recession, the AKP government gives priority to the issue of wearing the veil. But it is not just the AKP. All the bourgeois parties and their leaders have fed into religious reaction.

The veil is not “a right that allows women to be more free.” Nor is the veil “a question of human rights,” as these politicians repeat. The veil is a symbol of religious reaction and of the domination of women by men. It makes women even more like slaves than they already are. The male politicians discuss how women should wear their veils without even asking their advice. Doesn’t this prove the point?

There are about 2,400,000 students at the universities, of whom 1,040,000 are women. An estimated 3,000 women students wear veils. But now religious pressure is going to increase this number enormously. It’s not a good sign for women’s rights.

If the government stood for civil liberties for women, it would do what is necessary to lessen the pressure, the violence, the rapes and the assassinations committed against women in the name of the past. It would improve working conditions, create childcare centers, etc.

Of course, the government doesn’t lift a finger to resolve any of these problems that weigh so heavily on women and children. The AKP government, in power for the last six years, not only doesn’t find solutions to these problems, it adds to them.