World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey's prime minister said on Wednesday that a new constitution could eliminate question marks about headscarf issue.
Turkey still insists on imposing headscarf ban as a country whose population is 99 percent Muslim and majority of women wear headscarf as a religious practice.
Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he was attaching importance to the period after the parliamentary elections due in summer of 2011, in a move that delays freedom to headscarf on constitutional level to until after general votes.
"I think a new constitution can eliminate question marks," Erdogan told reporters before he flew to South Korea.
Headscarves were banned on university campuses in the late 1990s through a Constitutional Court ruling on the grounds that allowing them to be worn would violate the nation's secular principles because the headscarf was seen as a political and religious symbol.
Erdogan also said he hoped the new constitution to be passed with a broad compromise.
Turkey indeed attempted to lift the ban previously.
In early February 2008, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) with the support of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) passed a constitutional amendment that would have lifted the ban on wearing the headscarf at university campuses. However, upon an appeal by the staunchly secular CHP and its ally, the Democratic Left Party (DSP), the Constitutional Court ruled that Parliament had "violated" the constitutionally enshrined principle of secularism when it passed amendments to remove the scarf ban and annulled the amendment.
Turkey voted a constitutional amendment package on September 12, and 57.88 percent of Turkish people voted in favor of the package.
Turkish government has recently relaxed the strict ban at universities as Higher Board of Education ordered rectors not to sack headscarved students from the class.