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European headscarf ruling stirs controversy in Turkey

[JURIST] Last week's ruling by the European Court of Human Rights [JURIST report; opinion text] upholding Turkey's ban on headscarves [JURIST news archive] in public universities, has led to confrontation between the Islamic government and the law's secular proponents. Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer [official profile], who supports the ban, says the court's ruling was "binding" and should end the controversy. The country's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan [BBC profile] and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul [official website] have argued the opinion is not binding and promised to continue fighting the decision. The ban, which includes college campuses and state offices, has been enforced by the secular military since 1986. The European court upheld the ban because the Turkish Constitution [text] prevents the state from showing a preference for a particular religion or belief. AP has more.

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