Secular Turks see red over airline's lipstick ban

Fri May 3, 2013 3:22am EDT
 
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Ayla Jean Yackley

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey's national airline has barred female flight attendants from wearing red lipstick and nail polish, striking a nerve among secular Turks worried the country is becoming more Islamic.

Turkish Airlines, Europe's fourth-biggest carrier, said the ban was aimed at keeping crews "artless and well-groomed with makeup in pastel tones", as a natural look improved communication with passengers.

"As a consequence of our current cabin uniforms not including red, dark pink, et cetera, the use of lipstick and nail polish in these colors by our cabin crew impairs visual integrity," the statement said.

Turkish Airlines declined a request for further comment.

The guideline follows other restrictions on employees' appearance and on serving alcohol. Critics say they reflect the influence of the government's conservative religious values at the fast-growing state-run airline, one of Turkey's most recognized brands.

"This new guideline is totally down to Turkish Airlines management's desire to shape the company to fit its own political and ideological stance," Atilay Aycin, president of the airline's Hava-Is labor union, told Reuters.

"No one can deny that Turkey has become a more conservative, religious country."

Turkey is 99 percent Muslim but the NATO state and European Union candidate has a secular constitution.   Continued...

 
A Turkish Airlines plane prepares to take off at Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul November 30, 2012. REUTERS/Osman Orsal