Turkish Airlines Crew Can’t Wear Red Lipstick, Nail Polish

Secular Turks worry the new policy is a sign that the country has become more conservative ideologically

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Osman Orsal / REUTERS

Turkish Airlines now prohibits crew members from wearing lipstick and nail polish in colors like red and “dark pink,” perhaps in an effort to make the dress code for flight attendants more modest. Europe’s fourth biggest airline emphasized its preference for a more “natural” look in a statement to CNN:

According to the generally accepted practices, personnel who work in the services sector are preferred to be artless and well groomed with a make-up in pastel tones.

Hava-Is, the union that represents Turkish civil-aviation workers, says the ban is a blatant political move. “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 Hava-Is, told Reuters. “No one can deny that Turkey has become a more conservative, religious country.” Though 99% of Turkey’s population is Muslim, the country has a secular constitution.

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Flight attendants are also can’t have platinum blond hair. Earlier this year, recently leaked photos of a redesigned flight attendant uniform — featuring skirts below the knees and Ottoman-style fez caps — also sparked controversy.

Likewise, the airline no longer serves alcohol to most domestic destinations or on routes to Islamic countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and Mauritania.