Turkey has lifted its 90-year-old ban on Islamic women’s headscarves and veils in civil service jobs. Initially, the ban was imposed so separate religion from government operations.
According to the South China Morning Post, anyone violating with what Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said to be a “woman’s right to cover herself in public” would face a prison term of up to three years.
The ban, though, has strung up controversy. The Pakistan Tribune reports that secularists, (military and strict followers of modern Turkey’s founding father Mustafa Kemal Ataturk), believe it is “government imposing an Islamic agenda on a majority Muslim but constitutionally secular state.”
On the other hand, according to EuroNews, Erdogan deems it as a positive step to move closer towards democracy. “A painful ban that has caused a lot of suffering to the parents of young people is lifted. A dark era has come to an end.”, said Erdogan, speaking in parliament.
EuroNews also reports that the ban has kept many women from joining the public work force. Supporters of the ban lift see the change as the restoration of freedom of religious expression.
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