The Struggle of Devout Turkish Women for Full Citizenship

by Amelie Barras
published in MER262

In the spring of 2011, amidst vociferous debates over the prospect of a third term in office for the “Islam-friendly” Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey, a group of devout women launched an initiative called “No Headscarves, No Vote.” The activists demanded that all Turkish political parties include women wearing headscarves on their electoral lists. No fewer than 60 percent of Turkish women cover their heads in public, and the activists believed it was time these women had a place in formal politics. At the time, in fact, 50 of Parliament’s 550 members were women, and 30 of the women represented the AKP, but none of them wore a headscarf.

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