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Female students almost barred from graduation ceremony due to ‘inappropriate’ outfits

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A number of female high school students were finally allowed to attend their graduation ceremony in Kocaeli province after much ado over their outfits, found to be “inappropriate” by the school administration,  the private DHA news agency reported.

Videos showing the students and their parents arguing with the school administration to be able to attend the ceremony widely circulated among social media users in Turkey on Thursday. In the videos, the female students are seen in dresses exposing some parts of their body.

The incident took place at the graduation ceremony of the Alaettin Kurt Anatolian High School in Gebze. Before the ceremony the school administration sent parents a “parental permission approval form” stating that students must dress according to national and moral values and the dress code.

The code prohibits students from wearing torn, perforated and transparent clothes, shorts and tights that show body lines, skirts above the knee, short pants, sleeveless shirts and T-shirts that have political symbols.

According to DHA, parents and students protested the school administration after some female students were denied entry to the ceremony on the grounds that they were wearing clothes not in compliance with the dress code.

A gendarmerie team was dispatched to the school after a dispute broke out between the students’ parents and school administration representatives.

Shortly after the incident, Şener Doğan, director of national education in Gebze, came to the school and talked to the students who were barred from attending the graduation and their parents. He then allowed all the students to attend the ceremony.

The Kocaeli Governor’s Office announced the launch of an investigation into the incident.

Education union Eğitim-İş said in a written statement on Thursday that barring students from attending their graduation ceremony because of their outfits does not befit the Reublic of Turkey and that such practices will not serve the country’s social peace.

“This is yet another addition to the senseless debates and practices that have been carried out over women’s clothing [in Turkey] for years,” he said, adding that they would follow the incident.

Journalist Alican Uludağ criticized the inaction of opposition politicians on the issue, saying in a tweet, “If the opposition does not go to the door of that school today and hold the administrators to account, they will be responsible for what happened.”


President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been governing Turkey for two decades, is criticized for promoting a religious lifestyle among people and curtailing their liberties. Erdoğan has attracted widespread condemnation for silencing dissent, jailing his critics and pursuing policies that are considered an interference in people’s lifestyles.

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