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Turkish flight attendants see red over lipstick policy

By Gul Tuysuz, CNN
May 4, 2013 -- Updated 1240 GMT (2040 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Critics take to social media to voice outrage over new dress code
  • The airline is Turkey's national flag carrier
  • Turkey's culture pits Muslim elite against the old guard secularists

Read a version of this story in Arabic.

(CNN) -- Turkey's main airline is banning certain shades of lipstick and nail polish among flight attendants. And the cabin crew is not happy about it.

Outrage spilled into social media, sparking newspapers columns and a movement after Turkish Airlines announced the new dress code this week.

The dress code calls for plain makeup in pastel colors.

"Red, dark pink and similar colors of lipstick and nail polish that are not in the current uniforms breaks up visual coherence," the airline statement said.

Critics of the new dress code have taken to Twitter and Facebook to voice their outrage.

A columnist with the nation's Daily Hurriyet urged women to send in photos of themselves in red lipstick, dubbing it the "Red Lipstick Movement."

The airline is Turkey's national flag carrier, and though recently privatized, it is 49% government-owned.

Turkey's culture wars pitting the pious Muslim elite against the old guard secularists have played out recently in a debate over the airline's policies.

Many who fear encroaching conservative values point to steps Turkish Airlines has taken in recent months, especially restricting the appearance of its female cabin crew.

Last month, when photos of new uniforms being considered for the airline were leaked on social media, many criticized the more conservative trend, which featured longer hemlines and more traditional necklines.

Another set of recent guidelines prohibited flight attendants from having platinum blond hair as well as certain shades of red dye.

The airline also made headlines last month when it banned alcohol service on a majority of domestic flights, citing low demand. It also stopped serving alcohol on eight international flights at the request of the host countries, it said.

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