Turkey's ex-army general says headscarf ban was 'mistake'

General Ilker Basbug had been sentence to jail in August after being found guilty of conspiring as part of the shadowy 'deep-state' Ergenekon network which was planning to carry out a coup on the Turkish government.

Turkey's ex-army general says headscarf ban was 'mistake'

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkey's former Chief of Army Staff, Ilker Basbug, has admitted that the banning of mothers who wore headscarves from attending the funeral of Turkish soldiers killed in battle was wrong.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, the retired general rejected claims the the Turkish Armed Forces was against religion and said that one of his favorite sayings to his soldiers was 'there is no such thing as an Atheist on the battlefield.'

However, he admitted that the Turkish Armed Forces had committed mistakes in the past, one of them being the prevention of headscarved women from attending initiation ceremonies and the funerals of their sons who had given their lives serving on the front line.

'Of course we had mistakes,' he said, pointing out the army's former practice of banning the headscarf from its premises.

'I discussed this problem with my companions during my era and urged them to find a solution for it,' he said.

He also said that the preventing of Turkish soldiers from participating in the Janazah (funeral) prayer for the deceased soldier was wrong, but said that this mistake has now been corrected.

General Ilker Basbug had been sentence to jail in August after being found guilty of conspiring as part of the shadowy 'deep-state' Ergenekon network which was planning to carry out a coup on the Turkish government.

However, Basbug released from prison early in March after Turkey's constitutional court found that his rights had been violated in the run up towards his sentencing.

The headscarf ban in Turkey was officially lifter late last year when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced his 'democratization packet', which removed a number of restrictions on religious and cultural freedoms that had been enforced in Turkey since a military coup ousted former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan on 28 February 1997. 

Last Mod: 11 Nisan 2014, 12:10
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