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3Novices:Turkey allows policewomen to wear headscarf

ISTANBUL // Turkey has for the first time allowed policewomen to wear the headscarf as part of their uniform, according to a ruling published in the official gazette on Saturday.

Women serving in the police force "will be able to cover their heads" under their caps or berets so long as the headscarf is "the same colour as the uniform and without pattern."

Rulings published in the official gazette come into force immediately. Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), has long pressed for the removal of restrictions on women wearing the headscarf in the officially secular state. The ban on wearing the Muslim headscarf, known as the hijab, on university campuses was lifted in 2010. Headscarves were permitted in state institutions from 2013 and in high schools in 2014.

Critics of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have long accused the president of chipping away at the secular pillars of modern Turkey as set up by its founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk when he established the Turkish republic in 1923.

But pro-government media pointed out that several Western states have already granted female officers permission to wear the headscarf.

Police in Scotland this month allowed women to wear the headscarf while on duty, following a lead set by their counterparts in London over a decade ago.

In a bid to boost the recruitment of Muslim women, the Canadian government this week said the Royal Canadian Mounted Police would allow its officers to wear hijabs as part of their uniforms.

*Agence France-Presse
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