Sarkozy rejects headscarved wife of Turkey's PM, Baykal claims

Turkish opposition leader revealed a diplomatic scandal if confirmed, saying "Sarkozy told Erdogan not to bring headscared wife to the official visit to France".

Sarkozy rejects headscarved wife of Turkey's PM, Baykal claims

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkish opposition leader on Tuesday revealed a diplomatic scandal if confirmed, saying "Sarkozy told Erdogan not to bring headscared wife to the official visit to France".

The remarks come while he comments the military barring on Erdogan's wife, Emine Erdogan at a military hospital. The incident took place in 2007.

Last week during a debate in parliament, Erdogan admitted that Gulhane Military Hospital (GATA) denied entry to Emine Erdogan who wanted to visit an ailing actor because she wears headscarf. General Staff Chief Gen. Ilker Basbug said, "we cannot defend it today."

Turkey still insists on imposing headscarf ban as a country whose population is 99 percent Muslim.

Addressing members of his party assembly, Deniz Baykal, chairman of main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) argued, "French President Nicolas Sarkozy told PM Erdogan not to bring his wife to official visit to France."

There is no comments by Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the scandal yet.

April visit?

Turkish diplomats said last week Erdogan is expected to make a trip to French capital Paris in April.

Erdogan will probably be in Paris on April 6 to attend the closing ceremony for the nine-month "Season of Turkey in France" activities, diplomats said.

"Season of Turkey in France", a series of hundreds of cultural events aimed at promoting Turkish culture in France, was launched in July. The closing ceremony will take place at the Palace of Versailles.

Erdogan is also expected to meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister Dominique Villepin during his stay in Paris.

Baykal said, "he knows the scandal for a long time." He asked Erdogan, "Did not Sarkozy tell you (Erdogan) not to bring your wife because of her dress?.

"You are the Prime Minister. You will solve the issue. It is not the place (parliament) to cry," he said.

PM Erdogan visited France in 2004 as a part of EU tour over membership efforts. His wife's name appeared in the official list, but she did accompany her husband during the official visit to France.

Turkey imposes the ban at all public domain, particularly universities in a country majority of women wear headscarf as a religious practice.

Erdogan leads the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) that aimed to lift the controversial ban earlier last year.

But the effort failed and it was cited as evidence when a closure case was filed against the party.

France's Sarkozy always expresses his rejection over Turkey's EU bid, saying they favored a "privileged partnership" instead of full membership for the mainly Muslim- populated country.

 

Related news reports:

Turkey's top general in self-criticism over headscarf barring

Last Mod: 10 Şubat 2010, 12:23
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