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10 Years Challenge: Controversy off the veil in Turkey

Wearing a headscarf in a public place was banned for years in Turkey
Wearing a headscarf in a public place was banned for years in Turkey.
QUX.ME, Turkey - Debates about wearing headscarves have been taking place in Turkey since social media users in the country joined in with #10YearChallenge that was viral throughout the world.

The debate was triggered by a number of women who used the challenge to display photo comparisons while still wearing headscarves and when they removed the veil along with the reason why they did it.

Some women even used the hashtag #1yearchallenge because their decision to take off the headscarf just happened a year ago.

Nazan was one of the women who used the hashtag and shared her photos while paragliding.

"#1yearchallenge, there is no way to explain how wonderful my feelings are to live as I believe and want," he wrote in a chat on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/NazanBalkaya34/status/1085981875116695552

Some cuitan was dicuitkan back by an online site called You'll Never Walk Alone.

The page encourages women who take off their headscarves, or are considering removing the veil, to share the story.

Without revealing his true identity, the founder of the page told BBC Turkey that his aim was to show Turkish women "they are not alone and there is solidarity with women on their difficult journey".

"There should be no teenagers aged 13-14 who are forced to use something they have to use for the rest of their lives," he told BBC Turkey.

Here are some of their stories

"Anyone can say whatever they want. WE ARE FREE and this has nothing to do with our family or our friends," wrote Busranur.

"Our thoughts about ourselves and our thoughts about what we can do have been released.

"We are purified from all kinds of religious dogmas that can be applied to women. We do not play the role other people set us. We have become ourselves 10yearchallenge."

https://twitter.com/kirazcicegi_/status/1086257338242269184

"I smile at all times but life is not always cheerful. As a graduate of Imam Hatip madrasa, I fight for the right to wear a headscarf (at university), but also struggled to let go for eight years," another warganet cuit.

"For a long time, I struggled inwardly and for five years turned into a struggle against friends and the whole community."

https://twitter.com/mistiktanrica/status/1086000508651876353

Different views

The attitude of the women who took off their headscarves was repaid by a number of other women who said that wearing a headscarf was their choice.

"#10yearchallenge this is my fourth year wearing a hijab. I don't think it's right to discuss freedom in that way," wrote a woman.

"I cannot accept that some people praised with enthusiasm those who took off the veil and called it enlightened humans as if they had morality."

https://twitter.com/deryameryemm/status/1085994164263755777?s=21

Men join in the debate

"Everyone can close themselves or not close themselves, it's up to them. This is not someone else's business," wrote a warganet.

"I saw uploads of those who removed the hijab over the past few days. In my opinion, that is nonsense! You have to respect those who wear the hijab, as well as those who take it off. Stop insulting comments!"

https://twitter.com/ademarslan/status/1086494822607798272

This social media user said "wrongly associating freedom with the veil".

"Linking the veil to freedom is an attitude of intolerance. Freedom is the ability to act freely without oppression of anyone. Sometimes, closing yourself is freedom."

https://twitter.com/zeyno1606/status/1086183959766200320

The topic of headscarves is a controversial topic in Turkey. Wearing a headscarf in a public institution was banned for years and female students were not allowed to enter the university using a hijab.

However, in the last 10 years under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the ban was slowly lifted.

Secularists say the jabbab is a symbol of politics and religious conservatism. They accused Erdogan's government of pushing the religious agenda.

Pressure on teenagers and young women to wear headscarves also comes from religious parents and certain groups in Turkish society.

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