Turkey's parliament voted on Saturday to lift a ban on female students wearing the Muslim headscarf at university, a landmark decision that some Turks say will undermine the foundations of the secular state.
Parliament, where the ruling centre-right AK Party has a big majority, approved the constitutional amendments by 411 votes to 103.
The headscarf issue cuts to the heart of Muslim but secular, Western-oriented Turkey's complex identity.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party, which has Islamist roots, says the headscarf ban is an unfair denial of individual rights and religious liberty in a European Union candidate country where two thirds of women cover their heads.
Erdogan's own wife and daughters wear the headscarf as do those of President Abdullah Gul and many AK Party ministers.
But Turkey's old secular elite, which includes the judiciary, university rectors and army generals, regards the headscarf ban as crucial for maintaining a strict separation of state and religion.
Opponents of the hijab argue it is a slippery slope towards "Islamic" rule, but since the hijab is clearly a statement of free speech in the Turkish context (unlike in Saudi Arabia, where it is a symbol of oppression), denying it is arguably on the slippery slope towards oppression as well. Given Turkey's secularist background, the dangers of a slide into Islamic rule are slim, whereas maintaining such strict bans is probably what gave the Islamic parties in parliament their life to begin with. The people of Turkey are muslim, regardless of the elite's secularist tastes. Trying to oppress that identity only serves to strengthen it in opposition and resistance. Providing it the outlets it needs is the best way to tame it towards more useful channels. It isn't the Islamic political parties arguing you cant be Turkish and muslim at the same time.