Iran women MPs back Turkish colleague
in scarf row
TEHRAN, May 12 (Reuters) - Women deputies in Iran have voiced support
for a Turkish MP who prompted a row in neighbouring Turkey by entering
parliament wearing a Moslem headscarf, Iranian media reported on Wednesday.
``Do not feel alone. Hundreds of millions of noble Moslem women across
the world support you and anxiously follow the news about you,'' moderate
MP Faezeh Hashemi told Turkish woman deputy Merve Kavakci in a letter,
quoted by the daily Entekhab.
A group of women parliament deputies wrote in a separate letter to
Kavakci: ``At the start of the third millennium, it is amazing to witness
such unacceptable behaviour to pressure those who have chosen an Islamic
way of dress, as the right to chose one's dress is recognised as a human
The official news agency IRNA, which quoted the letter, did not say
how many of the 14 women MPs in Iran's 270-seat parliament had signed it.
The letters came amid tension between the two countries after Turkish
Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit accused Iran of promoting radical Islam and
backing Kurdish rebels. The Islamic republic denied the charges.
Turkey's Foreign Ministry summoned the Iranian ambassador on Tuesday
to express concern at demonstrations in Tehran in favour of Islamist deputy
Kavakci who challenged the country's secularist ideals by wearing a Moslem
headscarf in parliament.
Under Iran's Islamic dress code women must cover all except their face
and hands in public. Residents say police enforcement of the code has eased
somewhat since moderate President Mohammad Khatami took office in 1997
with a mandate for social and political reforms.