Tuesday 17 October 2017

Turkish PM: New constitution will remain secular

Ahmet Davutoglu said the new constitution will remain secular
Ahmet Davutoglu said the new constitution will remain secular

The Turkish prime minister has confirmed that the country's new constitution will remain secular.

Ahmet Davutoglu made the announcement days after parliament speaker Ismail Kahraman sparked controversy by saying that Muslim-majority Turkey should have a constitution based on religion.

Mr Davutoglu said on Wednesday that the new constitution - which his ruling Islamic-based party is drafting - would feature a freedom-oriented principle of secularism, and not an "authoritarian understanding of secularism".

He was referring to a strict interpretation of Turkey's secular laws under previous governments, which for example barred the wearing of Islamic-style head scarves for women in schools, parliament and government offices.

Mr Kahraman advocated a religious constitution on Monday but backtracked a day later following a barrage of criticism and denial of such plans by the ruling party.

Press Association

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