Ankara headscarf reform hot topic for Berlin’s Turks

Turkey’s plans to lift a ban on Islamic headscarves in universities has become a hot topic of conversation among young Turkish women in Berlin, home to western Europe’s biggest population with Turkish roots. Turkey’s parliament gave initial approval on Thursday to the move, fiercely opposed by a secular elite that fears religious encroachment on the state and moves towards sharia law. “It’s a human right to wear a head scarf,” said Derya Issever, a second-generation Turkish fashion student from Berlin’s southern district of Kreuzberg, the heart of the capital’s Turkish community. “But you’re more likely to see people wearing a headscarf here in Berlin than in the centre of Istanbul,” said the secular 25-year-old who was born in Germany. Many of the Turkish immigrants in Kreuzberg came from conservative Anatolia, where the headscarf is commonly worn, rather than the more Europeanized cities such as Istanbul and Ankara. Turkish culture flourishes here in cafes, grocery shops, clubs for young Turks, political groups and mosques. Sarah Roberts reports.