Women wearing headscarves look at a tablet computer

Turkish social media users joining the hugely viral #10YearChallenge have sparked a debate about the practice of wearing the Islamic headscarf.

Turkish women who took off their headscarves adopted this trend to talk about the reasons behind their decision.

The topic has long been a controversial subject. Wearing headscarves in public institutions was banned for years and students were not allowed to go to university with their headscarves.

But over the past decade under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the ban has gradually been lifted.

Secularists see the headscarf as a symbol of politics and religious conservatism and accuse Mr Erdogan’s government of pushing a religious agenda.

Pressure on some young women to wear headscarves has also come from pious Muslim parents and some parts of wider society.

The #10YearChallenge has seen people sharing photos from 10 years ago and today but for some of the women in Turkey the decision to remove their headscarf was more recent, so they instead used the hashtag the #1yearchallenge.

  • What the world’s #10YearChallenge looks like

Among them were Nazan, who shared a photo of her paragliding.

“#1yearchallenge, there is no possible way to describe how beautiful it feels to live as you believe and as you want,” she tweeted.

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Another said: “I speak as someone who had to cover her head at seven years old, as someone who was sold to a husband when 14 years old (even as a student), but as someone who never gives up on her struggle,” Josephine tweeted.

“I’m telling to those women who have a storm to be breaking in their heart. You are not alone, never give up! 2011-2018.”