Turkey lifts decades-old ban on Islamic head scarf

October 8, 2013 12:18

ANKARA- Turkey lifted a ban on women wearing the Islamic head scarf in state institutions on Tuesday, ending a decades-old restriction as part of a package of reforms meant to bolster democracy.

The ban, whose roots date back almost 90 years to the early days of the Turkish Republic, has kept many women from joining the public work force, but secularists see its abolition as evidence of the government pushing an Islamic agenda.

The new rules, which will not apply to the judiciary or the military, were published in the Official Gazette and take immediate effect in the majority Muslim but constitutionally secular nation.

"A regulation that formally intervened in freedom of clothing and lifestyle - a source of inequality, discrimination and injustice among our people - has become history," Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said on his Twitter account.

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