Feature

Turkey: A leader’s obsession with childbirth

Why is Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan so fixated on reproduction?

Yusuf KanliHürriyet

Why is Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan so fixated on reproduction? asked Yusuf Kanli. “Is this a psychiatric condition?” The father of four has already annoyed Turkish women by repeatedly exhorting them to bear at least three children each—in one speech, he actually upped that goal to five. In his increasingly paranoid worldview, only fecund Turkish mothers can foil the international plot to, in his words, “remove this nation from the world stage.” Last week, our Islamist prime minister went even further, with an abrupt and unexpected speech equating abortion with murder and saying that those who have abortions are contributing to that plot. Not only does he want women to bear more children, but he apparently wants them to do so in as much danger as possible, since in the same speech he also said he opposes caesarean sections. If Erdogan’s intention was to embroil Turks in a furious debate over abortion, he has succeeded. But his bizarre campaign is pointless: Abortion is legal only for the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, and that is not likely to change. “In a normal democracy, it ought not to be the business of the prime minister to delve into the bedroom affairs of citizens.” 

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