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Majority in Turkey backs headscarved women working for state: report

76.3 percent of people in Turkey think that headscarved women should be able to work in the public sector

Source : Agencies | 23 Nov 2012

A report prepared by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) has revealed that 76.3 percent of people in Turkey think that headscarved women should be able to work in the public sector.

The report, titled “Definitions and the Expectations Regarding the New Constitution,” was prepared by TESEV with the participation of 2,699 people from 29 provinces.

According to the results of the survey used in the report, 76.3 percent of people have stated that headscarved women should have the right to work as state officials. The percentage of Republican People's Party (CHP) voters who think that headscarved women should not be allowed to work in state offices is 51.1, while 95 percent of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) voters believe they should be permitted to do so.

The survey suggests that 73.3 percent of the participants believe the language of education should only be Turkish, while 26.7 percent of respondents said people should be allowed to receive education in their mother tongue in Turkish schools. The percentage of pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) voters who believe people should be educated in their mother tongue is 94. For AK Party voters, this figure was 25 percent, among CHP voters it was 19 percent and for Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) voters it was 11 percent.

In response to a question about which problems an ideal constitution should address, 53.4 percent of the participants said an ideal constitution should seek a solution for the long-standing Kurdish problem in the country, whereas 40.7 of the respondents said the constitution should seek solutions for economic problems.

When asked what basic principle should be highlighted most in the new constitution, 65.1 percent said justice, 50.4 percent said equality, 35.6 percent chose freedom and 33.6 percent stated that it should be the continuation of the state.

Regarding secularism, 50.6 percent of people who participated in the survey said the definition of secularism should not be changed and should be included in the constitution as it is, while 40.7 percent said that a definition of secularism should be present in the constitution, but should be revised in a way so that the state is not linked to any particular religion. The percentage of participants who believe that secularism should be removed from the constitution completely was 8.7. Out of the MHP voters, 62.3 percent believe that no changes should be made to the current definition of secularism in the current constitution, while this is 61.8 percent among CHP voters and 47.8 percent among AK Party voters. This decreases to 9.5 percent among pro-Kurdish BDP voters.

In response to the question, “Which method should be adopted for the approval of the new constitution,” 74 percent of participants said both Parliament's approval and approval by referendum are needed. A total of 14.7 percent said approval by referendum is sufficient, while 11.3 percent stated that only the approval of Parliament is needed.

When asked about military service, 69.7 percent said military service should be compulsory and every man should be obligated to perform military service, while 17.4 percent said military service should not be compulsory and that the state should switch to a professional army instead. The percentage of those who said military service should be compulsory, but that conscientious objectors should be excused from military service is 6.7, while the percentage of those who said the military service should be compulsory but that anyone who so chooses should be able to complete their time doing community service is 6.2.

Compulsory military service applies to all male citizens between 20 and 41 years of age in Turkey. The duration of military service is 15 months but university graduates are obliged to do military service for only five-and-a-half months.


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