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EU's Lagendijk: "The EU should be more sensitive about concerns over secularism"

EU's Lagendijk: "The EU should be more sensitive about concerns over secularism"

EU's Lagendijk: "The EU should be more sensitive about concerns over secularism"

In an interview with the Milliyet daily, Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Co-Chair Joost Lagendijk yesterday said that secularism in Turkey had more difficulties than the one in Europe because secularism was a part of the system and that it's been centuries that Europe left this argument. He said that there wasn't such a fight in 27 countries of the EU and that it was normal to be secular. He added that because of this they cannot understand the discussion on secularism in Turkey. He also said that there was a difference of understanding and that for him, wearing headscarves at universities was an issue in harmony with secularism. "But in Turkey this is seen as an issue threatening secularism. When we tolerate the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), people get the impression that the EU is making concessions on secularism." He also said that he perceives the sensitivity in Turkey but that Turkey was at a point that it could discuss freedom of wearing headscarves at universities. "The EU is sensitive about this issue but if there's a reverse image, it's our fault," he said, adding, "That is our responsibility."

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