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SPP 459

Author: Ersin Kalaycioğlu
Description: This paper addresses the controversial issue of Turkish women wearing the (türban), which is now before the Turkish Constitutional Court. Almost simultaneously, the governing AKP party, which won the 2007 election, has been indicted on the grounds of engaging in anti-secularist activities, including the promotion of the türban as a political symbol of Islam in democratic politics in Turkey. This paper analyzes data from the 2007 Turkish Election Survey to determine to what extent Turks perceive the türban as an issue of religious freedom of the pious women or a political symbol of an Islamic movement, and perceive it as a high priority issue. The paper also examines the role that the türban played in determining voting behaviour in an election won by the AKP, all of whose leaders have wives who wear the türban. The paper concludes with an assessment of how far this potent symbol of Sunni religiosity influences democracy in Turkish society.

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Postal Address:    CSPP Publications, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, G1 1XQ, UK

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CSPP School of Government & Public Policy U. of Strathclyde Glasgow G1 1XQ Scotland