Former Turkish politician.
When she won a seat in the Turkish parliament, Merve Kavakci was denied confirmation because she attended the ceremony wearing a hijab. Turkey, later, revoked Kavakci's Turkish citizenship, claiming that she had given up her Turkish identity in becoming a citizen of the United States.
In 1999, she stepped into the international spotlight by being an outspoken critic of Turkey's secularisation policy, travelling the globe in support of Muslim women's rights, especially to the hijab. Kavakci promotes the hijab as a symbol of female empowerment, and she is quick to remind critics that tradition of the hijab is both religious and cultural.
Lecturing at universities throughout Europe and America Kavakci addressed the 2004 Parliament of the World's Religion in Barcelona. She was a visiting professor and scholar at the George Washington University in Washington, DC., from 2004-05.
Most recently, in 2007 the European Court of Human Rights found Kavakci's expulsion from parliament was a violation of human rights.
Compiled by:M Nauman Khan