Turkey's Erdogan declares gender equality "against human nature"

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife Emine Erdogan wave at the Esenboga Airport ahead of his official visit to Algeria, on November 19, 2014, in Ankara, Turkey. Anadolu / Kayhan Özer

Published Monday, November 24, 2014

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday declared that women are not equal to men and launched a bitter attack against feminists in Turkey, claiming they reject the concept of motherhood.

Speaking at a summit in Istanbul on justice for women, Erdogan, who co-founded the ruling Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP), said that biological differences between women and men mean they cannot serve the same functions in life.

"Our religion (Islam) has defined a position for women (in society): motherhood," Erdogan told an audience of Turkish women including his own daughter, Sumeyye.

He was bluntly hostile towards the audience at the summit saying, "Some people can understand this, while others can't. You cannot explain this to feminists because they don't not accept the concept of motherhood."

He recalled: "I would kiss my mother's feet because they smelled of paradise. She would glance coyly and cry sometimes."

"Motherhood is something else," he added

Erdogan then launched into a sermon on why he believes women and men cannot be treated equally saying, "it is against human nature."

"Their characters, habits and physiques are different.... You cannot place a mother breastfeeding her baby on an equal footing with men."

He continued, "You cannot get women to do every kind of work men can do, as in communist regimes."

"You cannot tell them to go out and dig the soil. This is against their delicate nature," he argued.

Erdogan was apparently referring to the practice during and after World War II for women in communist states like the USSR to do heavy manual work in factories or in roles such as tram drivers.

The Islamic-rooted government of Erdogan, which backs the Muslim Brotherhood, has long been accused by critics of seeking to erode the country's secular principles and limiting the civil liberties of women.

Erdogan has also drawn the ire of feminist groups for declaring that every woman in Turkey should have three children and with proposals to limit abortion rights and the morning-after pill.

In August, he drew mass criticism regarding his attitude towards the media and women when in a television debate he said to a woman journalist that she was a "shameless woman" and told her "to know your place."

Amberin Zaman had asked the main opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu in the debate whether any Muslim society was capable of challenging its authorities.

Erdogan berated Zaman, a respected journalist who in addition to writing for The Economist for 15 years, also writes for the Turkish daily Taraf.

"A militant in the guise of a journalist, a shameless woman... Know your place!" he declared.

"They gave you a pen and you are writing a column in a newspaper... and you insult a society that is 99 percent Muslim," he said, drawing loud boos from the crowd.

In July, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc, one of the AKP co-founders, sparked an outcry after declaring that women should not laugh loudly in public.

"A man should be moral but women should be moral as well, they should know what is decent and what is not decent," Arinc said, adding that a woman “should not laugh loudly in front of all the world and should preserve her decency at all times.”

Arinc went on to denounce a moral degradation that left society awash with drugs and prostitution, and lashed out at popular Turkish soap operas for encouraging lax lifestyles. He also said a man should be strongly "tied to his wife and love his children" while a woman should "protect her husband's honor."

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)


Erdogan was apparently referring to the practice during and after World War II for women in communist states like the USSR to do heavy manual work in factories or in roles such as tram drivers.

'A woman should protect her husband's honour.' Pass the bucket.

Wonder where did this dollop of mother's love go to school? LOL but gender equality is not about biological or physical differences but about equal treatment.

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