Turkey approves hijab as part of official police uniform

Female officers 'will be able to cover their heads' under their caps or berets for the first time 

Alexandra Sims
Sunday 28 August 2016 12:05 BST
Turkish policewomen stand guard at the entrance of the the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Istanbul
Turkish policewomen stand guard at the entrance of the the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Istanbul

Turkey has allowed policewomen to wear the hijab as part of their uniforms for the first time.

Female police officers “will be able to cover their heads” under their caps or berets with a headscarf “the same colour as the uniform and without pattern” while on duty, the official gazette said on Saturday.

Rulings published in the official gazette come into force immediately, AFP reports.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) has pushed for restrictions on women wearing the hijab to be relaxed and the move follows similar changes in Turkish regulation.

In 2010, an official ban on headscarves in universities was lifted throughout the country. Three years later, women were allowed to wear the hijab in state institutions and the prohibition was abandoned for students in high schools in 2014.

The moves have led some to accuse President Erdogan of attempting to reinterpret Turkey’s secularist constitution, the BBC reports.

Turkey has been an officially secular state with no state religion since the Turkish republic was established in 1923.

But the country’s pro-government media have noted that several Western nations have relaxed restrictions over wearing headscarves.

On Thursday, Police Scotland announced the hijab will become part of its official uniform, with the hope of creating a more diverse force.

Muslim blood donor won't take off her hijab or be driven by fear 'because then the terrorists win'

The force said they hope the move will “encourage women from Muslim communities, who may previously not have seen policing as a career option to reconsider.”

The Canadian government also said this week The Royal Canadian Mounted Police would allow its officers to wear hijabs as part of their uniforms in an effort to boost the recruitment of Muslim women.

The announcement also follows a ruling by France’s highest administrative court that “burkini bans” enforced at some of the country’s beach resorts are illegal and a violation of fundamental liberties.

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