On January 24, 2008, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Turkey and the key opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) agreed to lift a ban on women wearing headscarves in universities and public offices. The agreement was in response to recent calls from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the government to lift the ban immediately and not wait for a proposed amendment to the constitution. Erdogan has repeatedly called for an end to the ban, saying it effectively denies some Muslim women access to higher education, but Turkish secularists believe that his insistence on ending the ban is a political statement against secular principles.
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