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Letter to Pakistani Ambassador to help Ms. Kavacki PDF Print E-mail
June 23, 1999
His Excellency Riaz Hussain Khokhar,                                     
The Ambassador of Pakistan,
2315 Massachusetts Avenue, N. W.
Washington, DC 20008.
Subject : An appeal to help reinstate the ousted Turkish Legislator, Ms. Merve Kavakci. 

Your Excellency,

May  the  blessing  of  Allah be  always  with  you,  your  family  and  Pakistan. Amen. I am sure you know about a young woman Legislator, Ms. Merve Kavakci, who was elected to the Turkish Parliament in the recent elections, but was not allowed to take oath of the office because she appeared in the opening Session in a Muslim head scarf. I never met Ms. Kavakci when she was living in the Dallas area, and now most of the things I know about her were learned through the news media.  Rarely has a head scarf caused such a political uproar in a Muslim country. The strong reaction by Turkish Government officials to this apparently trivial matter is difficult to understand because she has been wearing her head scarf throughout her life and also during the election campaign and nobody raised any objection to it, but the situation changed dramatically after her election. It was Ms. Kavakci's first career move in politics, and she was looking forward to focus her energies on women's issues. In most cases people are helpful and sympathetic to some one who is starting a career, but the young lady finds herself in a helpless situation in her country of birth. I feel that Ms. Kavakci deserves the support and encouragement of Muslim leaders at this nascent stage of her career. I respectfully appeal to you to please help restore her  rights to the Turkish Parliament.   

Your Excellency, Pakistan is a good friend of Turkey, and you are in a best position to raise the issue with the Turkish Ambassador and advise him that his country is on the wrong path concerning Ms. Kavakci. More than 98 per cent of the Turkish people are Muslims, and although Turkey has no State religion, the constitution guarantees religious freedom. Ms. Kavakci  means no harm to the secular order of Turkey but she is being persecuted for her personal morals and behavior. The idea of a secular state is based on some of the highest values which all religions , most of all Islam, have emphasized - the freedom of human soul, equality and justice. Some scholars believe that by choosing secularism, Turkey has rejected Islam, whereas others think that the Turkish elites desire to revitalize the traditions and values of their religious heritage so that these  may be not only meaningful but creative in the new world environment. I am afraid that in pursuit of their ideals, the Turkish leadership is suffocating the simple desire of a young woman to wear a head scarf which is nothing more than a very dignified way for a Muslim woman to dress herself. Also, Turkey desperately wants to become a member of the European union (EU), but EU decided at its December 1997 summit in Luxembourg not to treat Turkey as an equal candidate for membership with newer east European applicants. What a shame that Turkish leadership cannot understand the simple fact that Turkey is not acceptable to EU because it is a Muslim country. Once again Turkey has become " The sick man of Europe." It will be better for Turkey to maintain its respect and dignity by sticking to its own flock - the Muslim heritage and seek Muslim Unity - and abandon the dream of becoming a member of the European Union. Women's problems, particularly in the developing world, are enormous and they present a special challenge for a young woman like Ms. Kavakci who is determined to make a difference. It will be appreciated if you could  privately speak or write to the Turkish Ambassador  and help Ms. Kavakci to obtain her freedom to fulfill the obligations to her electorates. Anyway, I leave it up to your wise judgment to find the best way to help in the solution of this problem.  Thanks and warm  regards.


Mr. M. Khaliq Qureshi,
1317 Shamrock Lane, Plano, Texas 75093.
Res. Tel. (972) 380 - 5106.      


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