Turkey's President Erdoğan says childless women are 'deficient' and 'incomplete'

Working women are 'denying their feminity', leader tells Turkey's Women's and Democracy Association

Matt Broomfield
Monday 06 June 2016 16:46 BST
Have 'at least 3 kids', Turkish President tells women

Women without children are "deficient" and "incomplete", Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.

Those who fail to procreate because they are working are "denying their femininity", he added in a speech to Turkey's Women's and Democracy Association.

“The fact that a woman is attached to her professional life should not prevent her from being a mother," he said.

Mr Erdoğan also repeated a previous assertion that women should have at least three children.

In 2014, the father of four said: "One means loneliness, two means rivalry, three means balance and four means abundance."

Turkey's population has risen by over 10 million since 2000. There are now around 79 million people living in the country, more than in any European nation apart from Germany.

The autocratic premier also indicated in his speech that he was eager for Turkey's population to continue to swell, as he attempts to increase economic power and political influence.

“Strong families lead to strong nations,” he said, adding that “every member of the nation should be mobilised” in the pursuit of "great goals".

Once imprisoned for inciting religious hatred after quoting fundamentalist Muslim poetry, Mr Erdan's political philosophy– like that of his ruling Justice and Development (AKP) party as a whole – remains staunchly conservative. In 2004, he claimed it was "against nature" to view women as equal to men.

He perceives birth control as "treason" and abortion as murder, having previously stated: "You either kill a baby in the mother's womb or you kill it after birth. In many cases, there's no difference."

He also criticised life-saving casarean sections for reducing fertility.

Last week, he said on state television that "no Muslim family" should use birth control, as "we need to increase the number of our descendants."

Though AKP attempts to present itself as a champion of women in the workplace, there is only one woman in the Turkish cabinet. The nation ranks 130th out of 145 countries on the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Index.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in