Turkish military lifts headscarf ban

Brunilde Fioravanti
Febbraio 22, 2017

According to the new rules, women serving in the Armed Forces, as well as students of military training centers and non commissioned officers are allowed to wear headscarves.

Since August 2016, women in the police force have been permitted to wear hijab while on duty. It will also apply to female cadets, but it was not immediately clear if it applied to women on combat missions.

The ruling Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) co-founded by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long pressed for the removal of restrictions on women wearing the headscarf.

Turkey's military on Wednesday lifted its ban on the Islamic headscarf or hijab for all female army personnel. Previously, it had been lifted at the university campuses in 2010 and then from high schools in 2014 but the Turkish army that has traditionally been more secular than the overall population never approved of lifting the ban.

But its political power has ebbed after the government increased control over the armed forces in the wake of the failed July 15 coup bid blamed on followers of US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen.

Female MPs, meanwhile, began to wear headscarves in parliament from October 2013 when four female AKP lawmakers wore it in a session, in contrast to the scenes in 1999 when a headscarf-wearing MP from the now-defunct Virtue party was heckled out of the chamber.

It is pertinent to mention here that several European countries have already allowed their policewomen to wear headscarves when on work.

The ban was set since 1923.

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