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Published On: Thu, Mar 16th, 2017

Turkey Promises to Support Islamic Headscarf Wearers Abroad

nsnbc : Turkey promised to provide legal support to Turkish citizens living in Belgium and France in cases where firms in European countries ask employees not to wear political or religious symbols including an Islamic headscarf during working hours. Turkey’s promise to interfere in European affairs came after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that firms had the right to demand that employees adhere to dresscodes prohibiting the wearing of the covered symbols political or religious symbols.

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Turkey’s Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Justice stated that they would provide legal support to Turkish nationals in European countries, particularly Belgium and France when necessary.

The Justice Ministry told the press that a lawyer will be assigned free of charge if a person is fired due to wearing headscarf, Justice Ministry, adding that the citizen in question will be able to benefit from legal aid via Turkish consulates in such cases. Turkey will reportedly provide such aid in coordination with embassies and consulate generals for its citizens living abroad in countries including the United States, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

Turkish government officials and media touted the ECJ’s ruling as everything from “fascist” to “anti-Islamic religious warfare”, notwithstanding the fact that the ruling does not specifically target any particular political organization or religion.

The ECJ ruled on March 14 that it does not constitute direct discrimination if a firm has an internal rule banning the wearing of “any political, philosophical or religious sign.” The ruling came after the Luxembourg-based court was considering the case of a Muslim woman fired by the security company G4S in Belgium after she insisted on wearing a headscarf. Turkey’s Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag described the ruling as a shame and added:

“The ECJ has made a decision that ignores and violates all human rights agreements, EU values and universal law. It should be known that the ban on headscarves with a written work rule is a clear violation of human rights, freedom of religion and conscience, and the right to work. … This prohibitive ruling of the ECJ is the destruction of freedom of religion and conscience, human rights and EU values. Some people may catch the diseases of extremism such as racism, discrimination, Islamophobia and xenophobia, and there may be a cure for it. The court responsible for realizing justice and rights should do so regardless of the conditions of those who have caught those diseases. … It is seen that the Belgian court and the ECJ have caught the extremism disease, have moved away from human rights, and are stuck in primitivism. They have caught the extremism disease on the rise in Europe and given up on rights and justice. It’s such a shame”.

Supporters of the ECJ ruling noted that Turkey’s AKP government probably wouldn’t want to claim that police or military officers in Turkey could stick stickers from political parties like the AKP, MHP, CHP, or god forbid, HDP to their uniforms. The ECJ ruling also underpins that owners of larger as well as smaller private companies also have rights – such as the right to enforce a certain standardized dress code, or the right to prohibit the wearing or political, philosophical or religious symbol during working hours. Disgruntled employees, for their part, have the right to find another job, or not to take a job like in a security firm, where they know that they will have to wear a uniform. .

CH/L – nsnbc 16.03.2017

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