Erdogan's schools say yes to veil but ban tattoos and makeup

Controversy over new rules in Turkey, "it's Islamization"

30 September, 11:44

    A girl in class wearing the veil at a school in Istanbul A girl in class wearing the veil at a school in Istanbul

    (by Benedetta Guerrera) (ANSAmed) - New rules in Turkey dictated by the government state that female students can wear the veil but not makeup nor have tattoos or piercings. Also, hair should not be colored and boys cannot have a moustache or beard.

    Published Saturday on the Official Gazzette, the new rules were promoted first by President Recep Tayyp Erdogan and were immediately criticized by the opposition, which considers them as "oppressive", "inapplicable" and a step forward towards the "Islamization" of Turkey.

    Already in July, Erdogan had expressed his thoughts on tattoos, harshly criticizing a young player from Galatasaray.

    "Why do you hurt your body?", the president told soccer player Berk Yildiz. "Don't be fooled by foreigners. You risk skin cancer in the future". Based on new rules set by Ankara, girls and boys "can't dye their hair, nor wear makeup or have tattoos and piercings".

    Boys also "cannot wear a beard and moustache".

    "Students have to go to school showing their face, cannot use bags or other material with political symbols, photos or writings". Students risk being expelled if they don't comply with the new rules.

    And if ''scarves, berets and hats'' are banned, veils for female students over 10 years of age are now allowed.

    ''Everybody must live their lives as they think is best'', said Turkish Premier Ahmet Davutoglu, known for being a conservative, right after the government's decision to scrap a ban on wearing the veil in high school following a liberalization in universities, public offices and parliament.

    Some school unions have protested. ''Turkish society is preparing to return to the Middle Ages'', the leader of Egitim Is, Veli Demir, told local papers. And on the ban on tattoos and piercings he wondered: ''What will students who are already tattooed do? Will they tear away their skin? It is an irrational decision made with an oppressive logic'', said Demir, announcing he plans to appeal to the Council of State.

    ''The rules go against the Turkish Constitution, the UN Convention on the Rights of the child and the decision of the European Court of Human rights'', he said. But conservative union Egitim Bir Sen has taken advantage of the government's move to ask for a separation of male and female students.(ANSAmed).

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