The Turkish Ministry of Defense [official website, in Turkish] announced Wednesday that female soldiers will be allowed to wear headscarves along with their uniforms. The regulation, a break in the nation’s attempt to protect its secularism [NYT report], is the latest institutional policy allowing head coverings in government settings. Coverings must be worn under a cap or beret and must coordinate with the official’s regular uniform. The regulation will go into effect once it is published [Al Jazeera report] in the T.C. Resmi Gazete [official website, in Turkish].
The policy comes at a time when bans against head coverings have been sweeping across Europe. Last month Austria’s ruling coalition announced a plan to ban full-face coverings [JURIST report] in public places, with a focus on Islamic veils. In December German Chancellor Angela Merkel on endorsed [JURIST report] a partial ban on burqas and niqabs, saying that “the full facial veil is inappropriate and should be banned wherever is legally possible.” Also in December the Netherlands legislature voted in favor [JURIST report] of a partial burka ban. However, in July the EU’s highest court ruled in favor [JURIST report] of a French woman who was fired for wearing a head scarf.