News / Europe

Turkish Airlines Backs Down on Lipstick Ban

Turkish Airlines Chief Executive Officer Temel Kotil gestures during an interview with Reuters in Istanbul, April 17, 2013.
Turkish Airlines Chief Executive Officer Temel Kotil gestures during an interview with Reuters in Istanbul, April 17, 2013.
Reuters
— Turkish Airlines is quashing a ban on female flight attendants wearing red lipstick and nail polish, its chief  executive said on Thursday, after an outcry by secular Turks worried the country is becoming too  Islamic.

The national carrier had said in a statement this month the use of red and dark pink lipstick and nail polish would impair the "visual integrity'' of its  staff.

But Chief Executive Temel Kotil said the order was made by over-zealous junior managers who did not consult senior bosses about the initiative.

"As to the lipstick, we had no problems but somehow low-level managers put together a paper without asking us and that paper leaked to the media and  became a big issue,'' Kotil told reporters in London.

Asked whether there was a ban, he said "no,'' and confirmed female staff could wear lipstick and nail polish of any color.

"As you know, some in Turkey are a little bit keen about these issues,'' said the fast-talking, U.S.-educated Kotil, who has served as chief executive  since 2005. "We are a great global carrier and we know what we are doing.''

Many Turks took to Twitter to complain about the ban and the president of the airline's Hava-Is union, Atilay Aycin, called it a bid by the management "to  shape the company to fit its own political and ideological stance.''

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

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's ruling AK Party, which traces its roots to a banned Islamic party, has relaxed the state's control over the expression  of religion, such as once-strict limits imposed on wearing the Islamic-style headscarf.

Such restrictions were aimed at reining in Islamism and improving women's rights, but effectively prevented many devout women from studying at university or taking government jobs.

In a presentation, Kotil forecast operating revenue would rise to $9.749 billion in 2013 from $8.318 billion last year. No net income guidance was given.  A decade ago in 2003, operating revenue was $1.898 billion.

The airline, which says it flies to more countries than any other carrier, aims to increase passenger numbers to 46 million this year from 39 million last.

Aviation union Hava-Is has threatened to strike this month over pay but Kotil was optimistic such action could be averted.

"We love the union, we love our employees... and hopefully we can find a solution,'' he said.

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid