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Turkey To Loosen Longstanding Ban On Headscarves In Schools

Trying to reconcile modernity and Muslim tradition in Turkey
Trying to reconcile modernity and Muslim tradition in Turkey
Yazı Boyutu

New rules on school uniforms in Turkey will now allow young girls to wear headscarves while attending religious vocational schools.

The move comes as a part of a new regulation that will no longer force children in state schools to wear secular school uniforms. Children will be able to wear their own choice of clothes, with mini skirts, tight-fitted clothing and sleeveless shirts strictly prohibited.

Female students will also be prohibited from wearing makeup or bleaching their hair. Male students will not be allowed to grow beards or mustaches or don clothes with political slogans and drawings.

“In our country, dress codes have always come under criticism. It’s time to let people wear what they want, whatever their means permit them to wear,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, speaking at a press conference in Spain on Tuesday.

The new uniform regulations will be put into place for the academic year of 2013-2014. Although the headscarf will still be banned in public and private schools during classes, female vocational school students can wear it.

The loosening of the ban of headscarves and other religious attire in Turkish schools is part of a wider debate over how to reconcile modernity and Muslim tradition in Turkey.

Turkey was founded as a secular republic by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who banned religious headwear after World War I.

In 2007, a bid by Erdogan's ruling AK party to lift the headscarf ban sparked a major crisis that almost led to the party being closed by the constitutional Court for conducting anti-secular activities.

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Iran's War On Abortion Rights, A Toxic Mix Of Theocracy And Demographic Panic

Ending a pregnancy has become a major complication, and a crime, for Iranian women who cannot or will not have children in a country wracked by socio-economic woes and a leadership.

photo of a young child surrounded by women in chadors

Iran's government wants to boost the birth rate at all costs

Office of Supreme Leader/ZUMA
Firoozeh Nordstrom

Keen to boost the population, Iran's Islamic regime has reversed its half-hearted family planning policies of earlier years and is curbing birth control with measures that include banning abortion.

Its (2021) Law to Support the Family and Rejuvenate the Population (Qanun-e hemayat az khanevadeh va javani-e jam'iyat) threatens to fine the women who want to abort, and fine, imprison, and dismiss the performing physician, if the pregnancy is not deemed to be life-threatening. The law also bans contraceptives.

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The measures are in line with the dictates of Iran's Supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. He was already denouncing birth control policies by 2018-19, though conservative elements among Iran's rulers have always dismissed birth control as a piece of Western corruption.

Today, measures to boost families include land and credit incentives for young couples, but it is difficult to say how far they will counter a marked reluctance among Iranians to marry and procreate. Kayhan-London had an online conversation with individuals affected by the new rules in Iran.

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