During his 6-day visit to Malaysia, Siasat editor Mr Zahid Ali Khan, along with the other dignitaries, also met Turkish ambassador to Malaysia Ms Merve Safa Kavakci. She is Turkey’s first hijabi ambassador to Malaysia. She is known for advocating for Hijab and her struggle for women’s rights. She is a Muslim women rights activist, noted column writer and an iron lady fighting against injustice.
Prof. Mumtaz Ali, his wife Prof. Zeenat Kausar, Dr Merve’s father Prof. Yousuf Zia Kavakci were also present during Mr Zahid Ali Khan’s meeting with Dr Merve. The Turkish ambassador was very much impressed by the services of Siasat daily and Siasat editor and told that she will surely visit Hyderabad if Allah wills.
Merve is the enemy of anti-Hijab forces. With her logical and knowledgeable arguments, she changes the views of anti-Hijab people. She convinces them that hijab or headscarf is not the symbol of women’s oppression and it is not the violation of human rights but Hijab is a shield for the women to maintain their dignity and modesty. This dress gives them a dignified and unique position in the society. It protects them from voyeuristic glances. Not only that, it is also scientifically beneficial as it protects women’s skin from sunburn, pollution and disease-causing germs. Merve wished to become a doctor but though she got admission in medical college she could not complete her medical course as the college objected to her hijabi appearance. She was told to either choose medicine course or hijab. Without any hesitation or a second thought, she opted for hijab. Due to her hijab, she went through several trials but Allah granted her success on all her moves and blessed her with contentment.
Prof Merve was born on August 19, 1968, in Ankara. Her father Prof. Dr Yousuf Zia Kavakci in an eminent scholar of fiqh, Islamic history and Islamic culture and heritage. After she was denied admission to Medical School of Ankara University due to her hijab, she did BS in software engineering from the University of Texas, Dallas of course in hijab. She did MPA from Harvard University and completed PhD in Political Science. No one objected to her hijab in US whoever did she convinced them through her logical answers.
Today if hijabi women are seen in the Turkish parliament the credit goes to Merve. She was elected as MP from Istanbul on April 18, 1999. When Merve reached the parliament in Hijab and it was her turn to take oath she was not allowed to take oath as she was wearing hijab. But Merve refused to remove hijab saying it is Muslim woman’s religious identity and every woman has the right to don the attire of her choice. She sacrificed the seat in the parliament for hijab. On this stand of her, not only her membership from the parliament was cancelled but her Turkish citizenship was also cancelled on the charges of having dual citizenship. Merve took her case to the court of European Union which declared the decision of Turkish parliament as the violation of human right. Merve has also memorized the Quran.
During the meeting with Mr Zahid Ali Khan, Dr Merve threw light on the exemplary leadership of the present Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan; his services in connection with Turkey’s development, the challenges confronted by the Islamic world, efforts to deal with those challenges and for the unity of Muslim community.
On the question of change in the performance of past and present governments, Dr Merve told that during 1923-2002 lot of changes occurred. The countrymen saw several ups and downs during the period. However, during the 10 to 15 years, Turkey has witnessed several administrative reforms. Present government’s top priority is economic development not social or political development. Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave importance to economic priorities.