Women in the Turkish armed forces have been given permission to wear hijabs, a decision made by the Defense Ministry on Tuesday, February 22.
The Turkish military was actually one of the last institutions to forbid the wearing of hijabs a few years ago in trying to keep their stance as the guardian of Turkey’s secular identity. However, this new decision highlights the transformation of society on the perspective of hijabs, which are now seen as a symbol of the struggle between Turkey’s religious and secular factions rather than just a religious headscarf.
More recently, relatives of soldiers were allowed to enter military groups while wearing hijabs, but this resolution affecting Turkish female soldiers is a landmark decision that deepens the concerns that the government wishes to sever the country’s secular chains.
This speculation may hold true, for the Turkish government under Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been more religiously conscious than past administrations, with this recent decision being only one out of many religious-driven resolutions made under Ergodan’s governance. Many critics also add that the decision may have been too bold for the military due to the controversial nature of hijabs.
Others however welcome the resolution, believing that it finally gives Turkey’s pious majority a chance for the dignity they have been deprived of for many decades.
Summery by Claire Lurie, WACC Intern – Spring 2017 (Queens University of Charlotte – Sophomore)