International

Turkey lifts ban on army officers wearing Islamic headscarf

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s army is lifting a historic ban on female officers wearing the Islamic headscarf in the officially secular country, the state-run Anadolu news agency said on Wednesday.

The move, ordered by the defence ministry, applies to female officers working in the general staff and command headquarters and branches, it said.

Women may wear the headscarf underneath their cap or beret so long as it is the same colour as their uniform and does not cover their faces.

The reform will come into force once it is published in the official gazette. It was not immediately clear if it applied to women on combat missions. It will also apply to female cadets.

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 lifted a ban on the wearing of the Muslim headscarf, known as the hijab, on university campuses in 2010.

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

And in the latest key reform before the army’s move, Turkey in August for the first time allowed policewomen to wear the Islamic headscarf as part of their uniform.

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