Turkish Army lifts ban on female officers wearing veil

Ankara, Feb 22 (IANS) Turkey on Wednesday lifted a ban on female officers wearing the veil in the country’s armed forces, the local media reported.

Women serving in the armed forces “will be able to cover their heads” under their caps or berets so long as the headscarf is “the same colour as the uniform and without pattern”, said a new Defence Ministry regulation.

The move applies to female officers working in the General Staff and command headquarters and branches, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.

The lift on the ban will come into effect once the regulation is announced in the Official Gazette, according to the Turkish media.

Speaking to Turkish reporters at his office in Ankara, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said he believed the removal of the ban was “very positive”, pro-government daily Yeni Safak said.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has long pressed for the removal of restrictions on women wearing the headscarf in the officially secular state.

Turkey lifted a ban on the wearing of headscarves on university campuses in 2010.

It allowed female students to wear the garment in state institutions from 2013 and in high school in 2014.

In August 2016, AKP government lifted the ban on headscarves in the police force.

Turkish military has long been known as the “protector of secularism” in the country and worked against efforts to lift the headscarf ban in the public sector for decades.

–IANS

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