Secular Turks see red over airline's lipstick ban
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 colours by our cabin crew impairs visual integrity,” the statement said.
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 recognised 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,” said Atilay Aycin, president of the airline’s Hava-Is labour union.
“No one can deny that Turkey has become a more conservative, religious country.” Turkish Airlines passenger Ahmet Yerli said, “I’ve never heard of a plane crashing because of a women’s lipstick.”