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Turkey | Improvements for Civil Rights and the Secular Movement
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- 7.2 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Turkey
- Relations Between Syria and Turkey Deteriorate
- PKK Leader Declares Cease-fire
- Israel Formally Apologies to Turkey for 2010 Commando Raid
- Anti-Government Protests Call for Erdogan's Resignation
- Erdogan Elected President
- Turkey Initially Resists the Fight Against ISIS but Changes Course
Improvements for Civil Rights and the Secular Movement
In February 2008, Parliament voted in favor of a measure put forth by Prime Minister Erdogan that would lift the ban on women wearing headscarves in universities. Secular lawmakers voted overwhelmingly against the laws, concerned that their secularism faced attack by the conservative government. In June, the Constitutional Court, Turkey’s highest court, overturned the measure, saying it violated secularist principles inherent in the country’s constitution.
On July 14, 2008, 86 people, who are suspected to be part of a secular organization called Ergenekon, were charged with attempting to overthrow the current AKP government. The attempted coup was exposed in June 2007. On October 20, 2008, the court began a public trail of the suspects.
On July 30, 2008, Turkey's 11-member Constitutional Court fell one vote short of banning the Justice and Development party for violating the country's secular constitution. The court did rule, however, to reduce by one-half the party's public financing.
After nearly 100 years of hostility between Turkey and Armenia over the murder of 600,000 to 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of Ottoman Turks during World War I, the two countries agreed in October 2009 to establish diplomatic relations and reopen the border between them. Both parliaments must approve the deal.