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By
AFP
Published
Aug 17, 2007
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Vienna-based stylist to redesign headscarf for Gul's wife

By
AFP
Published
Aug 17, 2007

VIENNA, Aug 16, 2007 (AFP) - A Vienna-based stylist is to redesign the wardrobe of the wife of Turkish presidential aspirant Abdullah Gul, including her Islamic headscarf which upsets secularists.


Abdullah Gul and his wife at the Latvian National Opera in Riga, 28 November 2006 - Photo : Attila Kisbenedek/AFP

"Hayrunnisa Gul has asked me to redesign her headscarf along with her whole wardrobe in a style that suits everyone, from the most modern to the most conservative," Atil Kutoglu told AFP Friday, August 17th.

"I am to submit next week a range of around 10 samples combining Hollywood glamour with the seriousness which matches her position," he said in a telephone interview from Turkey.

Turkish-born Kutoglu's clients include Hollywood actress Catherine Zeta-Jones and supermodel Naomi Campbell.

Voting starts next week in Turkey's parliament for the successor to current President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, with Gul, the current foreign minister, the favourite thanks to the comfortable majority of his Justice and Development Party (AKP).


Designer Atil Kutoglu with model Lydia Hearst backstage before the start of his Fall 2007 fashion show during Fashion Week 03 February 2007 in New York
Photo : Timothy A. Clary/AFP

He has vowed to be apolitical but army-backed secularist forces have deep misgivings over his and the AKP's Islamist past, and point to his wife and daughter's habit of wearing the headscarf.

Gul's first bid for the presidency earlier this year triggered a political crisis and snap general elections, which gave the AKP a solid victory.

The AKP has pledged commitment to secularism and carried out reforms that led to strong economic growth and ensured the start of membership talks with the European Union.

But sceptics point to its opposition to a headscarf ban in universities and public offices, its encouragement of religious schools and failed attempts to restrict alcohol sales and make adultery a jailable offense.

"My wife's headscarf is not an issue for me," Gul told foreign journalists Tuesday. "It is an individual choice. Besides I am going to be president, she is not."

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