Turkish female soldiers allowed to cover as hijab ban lifted
Women in the Turkish police force have been allowed to cover their heads under their caps or berets since August 2016. (File)
In a historic decision today, Turkey has lifted the ban preventing female officers in its army from wearing the Islamic headscarf.
According to Anadolu Agency, the move, ordered by the defence ministry, applies to female officers working in the general staff and command headquarters.
Turkey, which promotes itself as a secular state, has implemented a series of bans preventing civil servants from wearing the ‘threatening’ covering at work since 1978. But despite Turkey’s decades-long battle against the hijab, it seems the Islamic headscarf isn’t going anywhere.
As 90% of Turkey’s population is Muslim, opposition to the ban is hardly surprising, and a number of women have been arrested for refusing to succumb to government pressure.
Since August 2016, women in the police force have been permitted to wear hijab while on duty and earlier this month, a image of Turkey’s first female pilot to don the hijab went viral across Twitter.
While headway has been made for the right to wear hijab, the lifting of the ban in the army is particularly notable. With the army having traditionally been regarded as the strongest bastion of the secular state, this latest development is a big win in the fight against Turkey’s hijab ban.