Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Monday, February 18, 2008

Story of Turkish Lawyer

FOR Fatma Benli, a Turkish lawyer and women’s rights advocate, the controversy over Islamic head scarves has the irritating sound of a broken record.

Ms. Benli, who is 34, wears one herself. (On Wednesday, it was light brown with a floral print, tucked into the neck of a white turtleneck.) But she would rather talk about other things.

“I could tell you about domestic violence, about honor killings, about the parts of the criminal code that discriminate against women,” she said, ticking off her areas of expertise in rapid-fire sentences. “But we can’t move on to those issues.

“The head scarf is where we are stuck.”

The story of how Turkey got there is also, in large part, the story of Ms. Benli, who has been a central, if reluctant, participant in the fight in Turkey over whether covered women should be allowed to go to college. The governing party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken their case to Parliament, trying to lift the ban at universities, a move that has enraged Turkey’s secular establishment.

By Sabrina Tavernise, N.Y. Times Link to Article (last visited 2-18-08 NVS)

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