Headscarf-wearing teacher sacked on Feb. 28 anniversary

Karakaya reportedly had previously warned Ünsal to remove her headscarf at school because she was setting a bad example for other teachers.

Headscarf-wearing teacher sacked on Feb. 28 anniversary

World Bulletin / News Desk

A teacher lost her job at a school in the central province of Eskişehir on Thursday because she attended a class she was giving on the Quran and the life of Prophet Muhammad wearing her headscarf.

The incident coincided with the 16th anniversary of Feb. 28, 1997 military coup, which resulted in the introduction of various restrictions on the lives of pious people, including a widely implemented headscarf ban.

Kadriye Ünsal was a teacher working at Cumhuriyet Anatolian High School. She was teaching courses on the Quran and the life of Prophet Muhammad.

The school's principal, Ercan Karakaya, cancelled Ünsal's contract on Thursday on the grounds that she was wearing her headscarf at school.

Karakaya reportedly had previously warned Ünsal to remove her headscarf at school because she was setting a bad example for other teachers. Karakaya refused to make any comment during the press conference concerning Ünsal's dismissal.

On Feb. 28, 1997, the Turkish military forced the coalition government led by the Welfare Party (RP) out of power, citing alleged rising religious fundamentalism in the country. Until a short while ago, university students were not allowed to wear the headscarf at school and teachers are still not allowed to do so.

Ünsal said she first wore a wig to circumvent the headscarf ban but later wore her headscarf thinking that it would not be a problem.

She said her students were fine with her headscarf and had no objections to it.

Education Personnel Labor Union (Eğitim Bir-Sen) Eskişehir provincial head İsmail Altınkaynak leveled heavy criticism towards Karakaya for terminating Ünsal's contract.

Making a statement to the press in front of the school, Altınkaynak said: “It is a coincidence that the termination of Ünsal's contract happened on the anniversary of Feb. 28. This is a sign of anti-democratic practices.” He said the Feb. 28 process is still not over in Turkey.

Last Mod: 01 Mart 2013, 17:47
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