THE REPUBLIC OF TURKEY AND THE ECHR IN STRASBOURG AND RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS
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In the light of its constitution, the Republic of Turkey is in public-legal categories a secular country. However, due to vitality of Muslim religion practiced by 95% of citizens, Turkey finds it difficult to defend secularism in the way western democracies do. In a recent period both in Turkey and in other European countries (especially in France), a new problem appeared concerning wearing the headscarf, or the hijab. It accumulated political significance as a religious symbol. Thus, specific bans on wearing the hijab were introduced in Turkey. One of them, introduced by the University in Istambul, resulted in filing a lawsuit against Turkey before the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) (Layla Shain v. Turkey). The Court decided that there was no human rights violation (Convention art. 9), and the University acted properly and within means available in a democratic society.
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