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İstanbul Municipality official resigns after claims she insulted headscarved employees

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Yeşim Meltem Şişli, deputy secretary-general of the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality, resigned after it was claimed she verbally insulted a group of city employees wearing headscarves, the Hürriyet newspaper reported on Monday.

Şişli resigned in the face of an investigation into allegations that she made insulting comments about the employees during a meeting.

Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu has accepted Şişli’s resignation, according to the report.

The municipality had announced the investigation into the incident after the employees filed complaints against the official.

Reports said Şişli’s insulting remarks were discriminatory as she targeted their headscarves, which is considered a traditional and religious piece of female clothing.

The İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has also launched an investigation for allegedly “obstructing freedom of religion.”

The use of headscarves by women used to be a source of political division in Turkey as they were banned from public places, and women who wore them did not have access to public jobs until the last decade.

Mayor İmamoğlu took office as the candidate of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) last year, ending the 17-year rule of conservative parties in the local government of the country’s largest city.

While the secular CHP used to advocate for the ban on headscarves in public places, it softened its stance in recent years in a bid to reach out to conservative voters.

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