With President Erdogan's announcement of the start of work on the preparation of a new constitution for the country after the return of the Turkish parliament from its annual vacation next October, the issue of constitutionally immunizing the hijab has returned to the forefront of discussions among political and intellectual elites on the most important and prominent issues that must be included in the provisions of the new constitution to be written and the priorities of these issues.
The issue of the hijab in general in Turkey represents an ongoing crisis since its declaration as a secular republic until the 1980 coup, when the Republican People's Party (CHP) took over the country, imposing restrictions on the wearing of the hijab among Turkish women in schools, universities, workplaces, and army headquarters, including residential communities, and then in state administrative buildings such as government departments, hospitals, courts and post offices, and even preventing them from using public buses.
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, head of the Republican People's Party (CHP), accused Erdogan of "holding veiled women hostage", referring to their vote for his party in the electoral elections after he restored their normal lives to them.
These decisions greatly harmed the status of conservative women in Turkish society, and limited their active participation in it after they were curtailed and ignored, forcing them to either take shelter on the walls of their homes and avoid going out to the streets, or emigrate and leave the homeland, in which their rights are no longer recognized.
Justice and Development and seeking to restore the rights of raped veiled women
This situation was sought by the Justice and Development Party (PJD) after its rise to power in the country, especially after it became stable since 2008 and succeeded in reducing the role of the military institution and ending its control over civilian life in the state, as it lifted the ban on the hijab in schools and universities, through affiliation to work in the public sector, entering parliament, and ending with service in the police sectors.
During the past twenty years in which the AKP has been in power, it has devoted a large part of its moves to the restoration of all the rights that were taken away from a large segment of Turks, who represent the majority of conservative Muslims, foremost of which is the right to citizenship.
The issue of the hijab could have ended there and the debate on it could have ended after the state opened its arms to veiled women again and returned to their normal lives, but the attempts made by the Republican People's Party (CHP) and its president, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, during the recent presidential and parliamentary elections to fragment the AKP's voting base and attract a broad segment of its basic segment on which it always relies in winning electoral elections, reopened the debate on the hijab in Turkey.
Kılıçdaroğlu inspires Erdogan to constitutionally fortify the hijab
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the opposition leader and head of the Republican People's Party (CHP), accused Erdogan of "taking veiled women hostage", referring to their vote for his party in the elections after he returned to their normal lives.
Kılıçdaroğlu admitted that his party has committed mistakes and sins against them in the past, apologizing for the suffering they all suffered as a result of the policy pursued against them and violated their rights, stressing that his party is preparing a draft law that guarantees them the right to wear the hijab unconditionally and prevents them from being deprived of their rights inside their homeland, as has happened before.
President Erdogan picked up the tip of the thread and called on his rival and the rest of the heads of Turkish parties to work together to immunize the hijab against changing policies, by setting provisions in the constitution that prevent any attempt to limit the freedom to wear the hijab in the country, and firmly confront anyone who tries to take this step in the future, but the earthquake of the sixth of February / February - which struck southern Turkey - prevented the "Justice and Development" from presenting its proposal to parliament.
Opposition and the practice of taqiyya
There are those who remained completely silent and did not show any reaction, and there are those who saw that wearing the hijab has become a common thing in society that does not arouse sensitivity as before, so the inclusion of the freedom to wear it within the articles of the constitution is no longer necessary, while others went to accuse Erdogan of bankruptcy, so he seeks to ruminate on the issue of the hijab to preserve his party's voting bloc, which is the majority of Islamists and conservatives. The rest is that the laws and legislations that have already been approved over the past years in this regard are quite sufficient to achieve the desired goal.
These trends reflected the reality of the positions of the opposition parties on the issue of the hijab and revealed in a remarkable way the intentions of these people, which was confirmed by a statement issued by one of the leaders of the Republican People, who revealed that his party practices "taqiyya" in its dealings with Islamists to attract their votes in the elections only, and that they remain committed to their secular path and will not deviate from it one iota.
These positions increase the PJD's certainty in the validity of its doubts and fears of the possibility of compromising all its achievements in this issue, specifically as a result of political fluctuations, personal whims and partisan agendas that differ from one period to another according to the logic of narrow interests, which explains its insistence on the need for articles in the new constitution that guarantee the prohibition of prejudice to the right to wear the hijab, and to include them in the proposed changes to be made on issues of freedoms that include the rights to expression, security, and trial. Fair to those who stand before the judiciary, the right to live safely for the disabled in society, and the right of women to education and alimony.
It is a set of rights and freedoms that have witnessed repeated setbacks during successive governments since the eighties of the last century as a result of the rampant bureaucracy in the administrative apparatus of the state, in addition to cultural legacies and social traditions that prevented their application in an integrated and correct manner, which prompted President Erdogan to emphasize that his struggle will not stop for the preparation of a new constitution for the country that reflects the diversity of its people, gives priority to the human being, confirms his acceptance of the other, and adds vitality to the different segments of society.
Erdogan considered this step as liberating the country and the people from the remnants of the era of bloody military coups, which are classified as the darkest periods in Turkey's political history, especially as it is a step aimed at achieving human dignity as the main pillar of all rights protected by a law that applies to everyone without exception.
The step of fortifying the right to wear the hijab remains in need of societal consensus and extended dialogues with the active parties on the scene in order to reach their goal and not be reversed in the future under the pretext that they came in response to private opinions and not to achieve a societal point of view.