ANKARA (Dispatches) – Turkey on Sunday slammed a ruling by a top European Union court allowing the banning of headscarves under certain conditions as a “clear violation of religious freedoms”, adding the move would exacerbate prejudices against Muslim women in Europe.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman on Sunday said, “The decision by the European Court of Justice on headscarf in the workplace is another blow to the rights of Muslim women with headscarf and will play right into the hands of those warmongers against Islam in Europe,” Ibrahim Kalin tweeted.
“Does the concept of religious freedom now exclude Muslims?!”
The European Court of Justice on Thursday ruled that companies can ban employees wearing religious or political symbols if firms “desire to pursue a policy of political, philosophical and religious neutrality with regard to its customers or users.”
“The CJEU decision, at a time when the Islamophobia, racism and hatred that have taken Europe hostage are rising, disregards religious freedom and creates a basis and legal cover for discrimination,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry also said in a written statement on Sunday.
The ministry’s statement followed a similar condemnation of the top court’s ruling by the Turkish presidency’s communication director Fahrettin Altun.
Altun said the CJEU ruling against hijab was wrong, condemning the court ruling as “an attempt to grant legitimacy to racism.”
Ankara has repeatedly slammed European countries for racism and discrimination against Muslims.
The Turkish government has said that it plans to release an annual compilation of cases of discrimination against Muslims and Islamophobia around the world.
Turkey-EU relations deteriorated over a range of issues, including Ankara’s stalled membership talks in the bloc and the flow of refugees into the EU. A dispute between EU member state Greece and Turkey over maritime jurisdiction and energy rights in the eastern Mediterranean has further plunged bilateral relations to their lowest level in decades.