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Court rules University violates student’s freedom of education and religion

28th Dec 2018

Aqila Mumthaz

Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled on December 11 that a university student’s right of education and freedom of religion was violated with the headscarf ban.

The issue of the headscarf ban was widely argued in public and political debates during the 1990s and 2000s in Turkey. During this period Sara Akgül, a student at Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University, received a scholarship from the Education Ministry for the years 2000 and 2005.

However, in Akgül’s fourth year, she was expelled by the school on the grounds that she did not renew her registration. The reality however was, she was not allowed to enter school grounds and attend lectures or exams due to her headscarf.

The headscarf ban was lifted in 2010 when the Government issued a statement in September saying it would support any student expelled or disciplined for covering her head.

Akgül was granted a student amnesty in 2009. She returned to her university and graduated in 2012. However, after her graduation, the Education

Ministry asked Akgül to return the scholarship they had previously granted her.

In 2014, after years of seeking other judicial remedies, Akgül made an individual application to the Constitutional Court.

The Court unanimously ruled on December 11 that her right of education and freedom of religion was violated, a new case should be heard to remove the violations and its results, and the applicant be paid a sum of 20,000 Turkish liras (£2,960) for non-pecuniary damages.

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