World Bulletin / News Desk
CarrefourSA, a French retail chain that is conducting a campaign in cooperation with the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay) to deliver foodstuffs to the needy, on Sunday reportedly demanded that a headscarved worker be prohibited from serving in a tent where aid packages were being collected.
CarrefourSA operates in Turkey in partnership with Sabancı Holding.
According to an agreement between the retailer and Kızılay, CarrefourSA prepares packages that include foodstuffs in its various stores to be sold to customers. Customers buy the packages and then donate them to Kızılay, which has set up tents near the stores, to be delivered to the needy.
The Kızılay Ataşehir branch had established a tent near the Kozyatağı CarrefourSA, which attracted great interest on Sunday. When the Kızılay team found itself unable to cope with the large volume of donations, another person was assigned to work in the tent. Emine Demirci, a headscarved employee of Kızılay, went to the tent to help her colleagues.
According to a report that appeared in the Yeni Şafak daily on Monday, a manager from CarrefourSA went to the tent and told a Kızılay official that they couldn't allow a headscarved woman to work there. “The general director watched the tent via cameras and saw Demirci. ‘We can't let this happen',” he said, an unnamed Kızılay official was quoted as saying by Yeni Şafak.
Süleyman Akın, deputy head of Kızılay's Ataşehir branch, who said they were shocked by the order, told the daily that he tried to reach an official from CarrefourSA but failed. “What was done to our colleague, who works from morning to night, has upset us. We will be pursuing this,” he said.
CarrefourSA's directive sparked public outrage and debate over discrimination against veiled women in the private sector as a non-official ban on wearing headscarves still exists, although the government has removed the ban in institutions of higher learning and in some state institutions.
Borusan, BMW's Turkey distributor, had allegedly cancelled a sponsorship agreement with Turkish women's rally champion Burcu Çetinkaya in December, 2011, on the grounds that the co-host of a TV program Çetinkaya anchors was a headscarved woman.