Turkish Airlines has reversed a ban on flight attendants wearing brightly-colored lipstick following accusations it was trying to Islamize the company under government influence.
Temel Kotil, the airline’s chief executive officer, announced the move in the Turkish media accusing overzealous lower-level airline executives of having imposed the ban.
“Staff can use the color [of lipstick] they want. This measure was not approved by the hierarchy,” Kotil said, according to Hurriyet and Milliyet newspapers.
The airline defended the ban earlier this month, saying in a statement that “simple make-up, immaculate and in pastel colors, is preferred for staff working in the service sector.”
To protest the measure, numerous women had posted pictures of themselves wearing bright red lipstick on social media websites.
In recent months the booming airline, which is 49 percent state-owned, has also stopped serving alcohol on internal flights.
The liberal media had accused the airline of seeking to Islamize the company under the influence of the conservative government.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyin Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party, in power for over a decade, is often accused of creeping efforts to pressure the country to be more conservative and religious.
Turkey is a fiercely secular state, despite being a Muslim-majority country. Under Erdogan’s rule, headscarves – banned in public institutions – have become more visible in public places and alcohol bans are more widespread.