Hat Law

Hat Law

History of the Republic of Turkiye

Hat Law
A coffeehouse discussion in the Ottoman Empire. ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
1925 Nov 25

Hat Law


Official measures were gradually introduced to eliminate the wearing of religious clothing and other overt signs of religious affiliation. Beginning in 1923, a series of laws progressively limited the wearing of selected items of traditional clothing. Mustafa Kemal first made the hat compulsory to the civil servants. The guidelines for the proper dressing of students and state employees (public space controlled by state) was passed during his lifetime. After most of the relatively better educated civil servants adopted the hat with their own he gradually moved further. On the 25 November 1925 the parliament passed the Hat Law which introduced the use of Western style hats instead of the fez. Legislation did not explicitly prohibit veils or headscarves and focused instead on banning fezzes and turbans for men. The law had also influence of school text books. Following the issuing of the Hat Law, images in school text books that had shown men with fezzes, were exchanged with images which showed men with hats. Another control on the dress was passed in 1934 with the law relating to the wearing of 'Prohibited Garments'. It banned religion-based clothing, such as the veil and turban, outside of places of worship, and gave the Government the power to assign only one person per religion or sect to wear religious clothes outside of places of worship.

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