Turkish PM: new charter to stay secular; not 'authoritarian'

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has reaffirmed that Turkey's new constitution will remain secular, days after the parliament speaker sparked controversy by saying that the Muslim-majority country should have a basic charter based on religion.

Davutoglu said Wednesday that the new constitution — which his ruling Islamic-rooted party is drafting — would feature a freedom-oriented principle of secularism — not an "authoritarian understanding of secularism."

He was referring to a strict interpretation of Turkey's secular laws under previous governments, that for example barred the wearing of Islamic-style head scarves for women in schools, parliament and government offices.

The parliament speaker, Ismail Kahraman, advocated a religious constitution on Monday but backtracked a day later following a barrage of criticism and denial of such plans by the ruling party.