Turkey A bill that would lift a decades-old ban on women wearing head scarves at universities was submitted to parliament on Tuesday, worrying secular Turks who fear the government is raising the profile of Islam.
Deniz Baykal, leader of the pro-secular Republican People's Party, called the attempt to lift the ban a "threat against the republic."
The founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, banned religious attire in daily life. Although the country is majority Muslim, the ban has been vigorously enforced in public offices and schools since a 1980 military coup.
Under the new proposal, female students would be allowed to wear head scarves at universities as long as they tied them under the chin, leaving their faces more exposed.
"Chadors, veils and burqas will not be allowed," Nationalist Action Party leader Devlet Bahceli said in reference to Islamic clothing that covers the body from head to toe. "No one will be allowed to use head scarves as political statements against the state."