Large participation continues in the act of civil disobedience organized by the Civil Servant Union under the title “12 Million 300 Thousand Signatures for Free Dress.”
Ahmet Gundogdu, chairman of the Civil Servant Union and the Education Union, expressed that the dress regulations which are contrary to the Constitution and universal law and remain from the post-February 28, 1997 postmodern coup period would be considered ineffective. “Our act of civil disobedience will continue until this monstrous regulation is removed,» he said.
Attending a meeting organized by the Education Union at a teacher’s lodge, Gundogdu explained they wanted the regulation contrary to the Constitution, the law, and universal law to be lifted and that “we do not want the right to education, work, and politics to be murdered in the hands of those who engineer society.”
«There is inequality and injustice against women in all areas»
Explaining that women were not given a right regarding what they could wear in the public sector, Gundogdu stated, «Such a practice is contrary to human rights. There is inequality and injustice against women in politics, at work, in public, in all areas. As of Monday March 18 we will ignore this legislation. We have decided on action and have delivered 12 million 300 thousand signatures to the government.
Reminding that in 1999 elected deputy Merve Kavakci was expelled from parliament due to her headscarf, Gundogan said, “If Merve had been a man, would there have been a problem with her entering parliament? No. This was experienced because she is female, because of gender discrimination. And rather than letting go of her beliefs, she decided not to be a member of parliament.” Gundogan then called attention to the young Turkish women who move to France to attend university, to the applause Merve Kavakci received at the Belgian Parliament, and to the existence of a headscarfed mayor in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Hundreds of thousands of protest participants
With 12 million 300 thousand signatures collected over the past month for the freedom of costume-dress in public, the trade union which realized the largest signature campaign in Turkey’s history is now conducting a protest of dressing freely to work until the strict dress code regulation is lifted.
Headscarves worn to official ceremonies
Women who wear headscarves are the most satisfied with the protest. Civil servants who went to work freely wearing headscarves for the first time in years said that they had met with no inpediments. Men also showed great interest in the protest. Instead of suits, civil servants dressed freely without wearing ties and donning sneakers.
Turkey Ready for Freedom
The movement organized by the Civil Servant Union to dress freely to work met with no impediments. Women who had previously met with obstacles from institutional directors for wearing headscarves faced no such troubles this time. Due to the starting date of the protest coinciding with the anniversary of the Battle at Gallipoli, there were some interesting images regarding protocol. Civil servants participated in official programs dressed freely.
Chairman of the Civil Servant Union of Agri Province, Solomon Gumuser, expressed that many civil servants participated in the 18 official Canakkale Martyrs Memorial programs and eve understood their place in the protocol. He stated that “In order for us to be a powerful Turkey in the global world, such bans must be removed.” In suggesting that the protests had shown what kind of picture would ensue once the prohibitions were lifted, Gumuser said, “This means if the prohibitions are removed and people are left free, it won’t be the end.”
Chairman of the Civil Servant Union of Izmir, Abdurrahim Senocak, indicated that Turkey had now left such debates in the past and that «For us, this problem is now solved.»
Chairman of Branch 1 of the Civil Servant Union in Eskisehir Ismail Altinkaynak stated “the pain Turkey has undergone for many years due to the headscarf ban is now history with this protest. Hereafter, prohibitions which are the products of coups will not impact Turkey, the modernization of education will. All segments of society now agree that this prohibition must end.”
In indicating that the headscarf ban was no longer recognized, Chairman of the Civil Servant Union of Ankara Mustafa Kir concluded “This [ban] has no legal basis.”