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SISTER FILIZ BEYAZ
|She was born at Uskudar in Istanbul in 1975. Her father is originally
from Varto Town of Mus City. She completed her school education in
Haydarpasa School with success. She is the only one of seven sisters
and brothers to have embarked on a university education. She succeeded
in the 1996 university entrance exams and started at the Konya Selcutun
City’s Theology section. She was arrested during the demonstrations
against a Hijaab (Islamic dress) ban with 33 friends, on 22 May 1998.
Thirty of those arrested were male, the rest were female. The following
day she was released but two days alter another warrant was issued for
the arrest of two men and two women, one of whom was Filiz.
On 3, July 1998, the court ordered Filiz to be detained in the women’s
section of Konya E for 20 days. On 23 July she was released on bail.
On 29, July at half past midnight, she and a friend Havva, were knocked
down in a hit and run accident, known to be a method of extrajudicial killing
by the Turkish secret service. They died in Konya, on the Istanbul
YOUR BELIEFS OR
|Today, I did what I had to do. I went to the laboratory to attend the
lesson. But, they did not let me enter the lab. Furthermore, they insulted
They asked me " Is it really hard? Is it really hard to take off it?
Take off it and then you may go in!"
Yes, it is very hard. Are they the great creator who ordered me put
on this scarf? No, no , never! If so, how can they think that they have
the right to tell me to take off my scarf?
They say "your beliefs or your school? "
Do people have to ask someone else when they decide to believe and to
live according to their beliefs?
Nobody has given me this school as a gift. I've deserved this right
by hard-working for days and nights.
They tell me "take off or give up". But, I refuse both. I say "NO".
I will neither take off my scarf nor give up, to make someone happy.
GIVE VOICE TO OUR DEMANDS
|I am a sixth class student at Cerrahpaþa Medical faculty of Ýstanbul
University. I would finish it in five months. My educational life was finished
by the new rector of Ýstanbul University Kemal Alemdaroglu because
of our headscarves .We are muslims and we wear the headscarves as a necessity
of our beliefs .We can not attend to our schools although our laws protect
the freedom of belief. In addition, Turkey is a member of United Nations
and has signed to obey its rules. Please give voice to our demands! If
I can not finish the school in the next seven months, I will be discharged.
I feel free with my headscarf. If I do not behave according to my beliefs,
there will be no meaning in my life. I am very sad due to this problem.
I cannot do anything as a solution.
My family is very sad for this condition. My mother is psychologically
ill. I wish all these were terrible dreams. There is not any fault except
my wearing the headscarf. I continuously pray God to get our right to live
in this world.
FIVE MONTHS LEFT
|We are the final year student at Cerrahpasa Medical Faculty .
Up to the change of rector of university, we were happy in our faculty.
After that, with the change of rector of university, all our dreams on
being a good doctor turn upside down. Because new rector put new orders
about the student's dressings. According to these new rules, we cannot
attend to school with head scarf. But, as a Muslim, according to our belief
we must put on a head scarf. So new rules are attack to our religious freedom.
Although a lot of organisation, politician, blame the rector of university
and his staff for these new rules against the religious freedom, they haven't
given up to practise these nonsense rules against human rights
We are waiting the support of the persons all over the world for our
struggle against the enemies of religious freedom and human rights.
AM A STRANGER
|Today, my school looks at me as a stranger and tells me that I am a
stranger. However, yesterday, I was the owner of these lands. Tomorrow?
I do not know what will happen , tomorrow. Will the corridors of the hospital
that I've walked for many times claim me, again? Will the garden that I've
sat for many hours at the guard nights take me to its bosom?
Our efforts to save the lives of patients, taking their blood pressure....
my friends that I've competed with to take an ECG... My heart beats that
I felt when I first made an I.V injection...Will they take place in my
For five years I have attended this faculty with the excitement which
I felt the day I first wore the white clothes...I have become eager by
listening to the dreams my father had about me. I have striven to see the
happiness and pride in my father's eyes and to take mummy's blessing.
When I saw the patient losing his life due to lack of medical care,
I decided to work harder and prayed more. I prayed to my Owner Allah not
to keep me away from my way and to let me be a real doctor that helps the
But, suddenly, someone said "STOP! You have no chance to enter here
with these clothes, especially the funny thing you wear on your head."
And then the doors were closed to my face roughly. The police stopped me
entering my school that I had reached by the first lights of the day. My
friends that I had shared the same desks for many years were able to do
nothing. The professor who had been expressing his gladness about my success
to the classroom was, now, at the door near the policeman. He was sorry...
I could see this in his ashamed eyes. The only thing I could do was to
cry out my innocence.
I am really sad to see the ugly face of my elders. But, I am not hopeless.
I know and I believe that these days and oppressions will end somehow,
someday. They will become "memories" from the past.
THAN THE WEATHER OF WINTER
Note: Images and several accounts are taken from
the Respect For Beliefs web site (see external links).
|A 17 year old high school student studying every day for at least 5
hours to mathematics, science, literature...no time for leisure because
the big day is very close-this university exam.
Preferences are done -your ideal is being a doctor so only medical faculties
are written-, the big race -exam- started, nearly in 3 hours time everything
in your life will change, a university or nothing.
Yes. You've passed the exam now you have right to attend the largest
university of Turkey. I.U. Cerrahpasha Medical Faculty English Department.
Time for registration, you registered for the first class, everything
is O.K. you are studying your lessons and getting used to Istanbul. But
also you are sad because you are so far away from your family and city.
Now, you are at the second class, this year lessons are more difficult
but you pass all the exams and get really good marks.
3rd year, first semester , everything is going on in the same fashion,
studying and studying. In the last month of year something happens and
makes you colder then the weather of winter. This is the decree of rector
saying " Students with head-scarf can not enter lessons, practices and
You are in a shock state, you can not understand how a scarf may hinder
education. For 3 years you attended lessons, practices and exams as the
other students in your class but from now on you are regarded as a guilty
Then protests begin, 20,000 students from all faculties of Ý.Ü:
walk from Beyazýt to Cerrahpasha and Capa Medical Faculties. These
protests have no benefit, you are not allowed to enter practices or exams
A scene from examination hall:
At the door of the examination hall, everybody in your class -your classmates-
are allowed into the class, but you are not allowed even though you have
no difference from them in knowledge or skills, except your attire, you
are guilty because you have a scarf.
These written things are not a tale or a story, they are all lived things
in the Medical Faculty of Istanbul University.
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