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LOCAL >Turkey permits women soldiers to wear headscarf

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Women soldiers in Turkey will now be able to wear a headscarf as part of their uniforms, according to a new regulation prepared by the Defense Ministry to expand the scope of previous rulings on the much-debated issue.

According to the new amendment, women military officers and non-commissioned officers in the General Staff and command headquarters and branches will be able to cover their heads with a headscarf under their caps or berets provided it is the same color as the uniforms and does not possess a pattern.

The regulation not only includes regular women military officers and noncommissioned officers but also women military cadets.

The move will come into force after being published in the Official Gazette.

Previously, the Interior Ministry issued an amendment on August 2016, enabling women police officers in the country to cover their heads with a headscarf under their caps or berets provided it is the same color as the uniforms and does not possess a pattern.

In September 2013, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) under then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan lifted a ban on the headscarf in the civil service, fulfilling a long-time promise. However, security service members, judges, prosecutors and military personnel were still excluded from the regulation at the time.

The regulation also allowed women students to wear the garment in state institutions from 2013 and in high school one year later.

The government also lifted a ban on the wearing of headscarves on university campuses.

The lifting of the headscarf ban for public servants had been debated in the political arena for decades, and in late 2013, headscarved women lawmakers took the floor at a plenary session of parliament for the first time in 14 years. Previously in May 1999, Merve Kavakçı, who was elected as an Istanbul deputy for the now defunct Virtue Party, was unable to take her oath in the swearing-in ceremony after being heckled by fellow MPs.

February/22/2017

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