Turkish media called it an ‘historic moment’. Four parliamentarians from the Justice and Development Party (AKP) entered the parliamentary session of the Grand National Assembly with their headscarves on 31 October 2013. This seemingly insignificant action was politically salient. Thirteen years ago, Merve Kavakçı, a member of parliament from the Virtue Party (VP), faced heavy protests when she entered parliament wearing a headscarf. In the aftermath of the incident, Kavakçı was stripped of her parliamentary seat, and the VP was closed down by the Constitutional Court. Similarly, political controversy ensued when the governing AKP, together with the Nationalist Action Party (NAP), passed two constitutional amendments in the Grand National Assembly on 9 February 2008. The aim of the changes made to paragraph 4 of article 10 and to paragraph 6 of article 42 of the Turkish Constitution was to allow veiled students to attend universities. The opposition Republican People’s Party (RPP) took the amendments to the Constitutional Court arguing for their unconstitutionality on the grounds of Turkey’s commitment to secularism. On 5 June 2008, the Court annulled the amendments, and later that year, found the AKP guilty of encouraging anti-secularist activities. As a result of this ruling, the AKP received a serious warning from the Court, and half of its public funding was cut.

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