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Family Planning Not for Muslims, Says Erdogan

by AFP
Behrouz Mehri—AFP

Behrouz Mehri—AFP

Turkey’s president urges countrymen to ‘increase the number of our descendants.’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that family planning and contraception were not for Muslim families, in his latest comments promoting population growth that have angered women’s activists.

Erdogan said it was the responsibility of mothers to ensure the continued growth of Turkey’s population, which has expanded at a rate of around 1.3 percent in the last few years. “I will say it clearly… We need to increase the number of our descendants,” he said in a speech in Istanbul.

“People talk about birth control, about family planning. No Muslim family can understand and accept that! As God and as the great [Islam’s] Prophet said, we will go this way. And in this respect the first duty belongs to mothers.”

Erdogan and his wife Emine have two sons and two daughters. Earlier this month, the president attended the high-profile marriage of his younger daughter Sumeyye to defense industrialist Selcuk Bayraktar. His elder daughter Esra, who is married to the up-and-coming Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, has three children.

Erdogan has often annoyed feminists and women’s activists with his comments on sex and family planning. In a speech marking International Women’s Day this year, he said he believed that “a woman is above all else a mother.”

In 2014, he described birth control as “treason”, which risked causing a whole generation to “dry up.” And he has famously urged mothers to have four children, saying: “one [child] means loneliness, two means rivalry, three means balance and four means abundance.”

According to the statistics office, Turkey’s population rose to 78.741 million last year. The population in 2000 was less than 68 million.

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