Turkey to lift ban on female police officers wearing hijab
Turkish policewomen stand guard at the entrance of the the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Istanbul. (AFP/File)
For the first time ever, the Turkish government has allowed female police officers to wear a headscarf as part of their uniform.
The move aims at helping those policewomen who want to observe the Islamic hijab while on duty.
According to a ruling published in Turkey’s Official Gazette on Saturday, women who serve in the police force “will be able to cover their heads” under their caps or berets providing that the headscarf is “the same color as the uniform and without pattern.”
Rulings that are published in the gazette come into force quite soon.
In 2010, Ankara lifted a ban on wearing hijab on university campuses and allowed female students to wear it in state institutions in 2013. A year later, high school students were also allowed to wear hijab.
Critics of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have long accused them of undermining the secular bases of modern Turkey, as founded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1923, by granting such freedoms.
Pro-government media, however, argue that a number of Western countries have already allowed policewomen to wear the headscarf.
Earlier this month, Police Scotland approved hijab to be a part of its official uniform in an attempt to create a more diverse force.
To recruit more Muslim women, the Canadian government also announced this week that its Royal Canadian Mounted Police would grant permission to female officers to wear hijab as part of their uniforms.