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Personal Accounts
Sister Filiz Beyaz
Your beliefs or your school
Please give voice to our demands 
Only five months left
I am a stranger
Colder than the weather of winter

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 Highway.

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 me. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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 life, again? 

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 others. 

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. 

A 17 year old high school student studying every day for at least 5 hours to mathematics, science, 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 exams." 

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 person. 

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 either. 

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. 

Note: Images and several accounts are taken from the Respect For Beliefs web site (see external links).

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