Turkish Presidents and the Veil

The thought of their head of state being married to a woman who wears the dreaded hijab appears too much for some Turks to handle. As al-Ahram put it:

Secularist Turks regard having a head-scarfed first lady in the presidential palace as a violation of the secular state.

And the military is so distressed that they are even hinting at a coup if elections were to ever deliver such a result. It’s a strange case of secularism versus democracy with the Turkish military and some section of the community clearly on the side of secularism. .

This ideology, often called Kemalism after its supposed founder, has created an authoritarian state that, in its fanatical opposition to religious symbols, has veered into the absurd. For example, as Gul Gunver, a Turkish professor, reminds us, the daughter of the presidential candidate wears a wig over her hijab in order to be allowed to attend university.

Anyway, Tariq Nelson has uncovered some photos of an earlier Turkish president and his wife. The photos are over the fold, however I must warn any Turkish secularist readers that these photos may cause severe cognitive dissonance in some people.

For those who don’t know, that’s Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey and the man in whose name and supposed ideology, all this is taking place. The woman with him is his wife, Lâtife Uşaklıgil. Note the absence of any wig over her hijab. Et tu, Lâtife Hanım?

One can find more photos  here.