Erdogan Says Women Can’t be Treated Equal to Men

November 25, 2014  

Turkey’s Islamist President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Monday stirred up more controversy when he said women cannot be treated as equal to men.

“You cannot put women and men on an equal footing,” he told a women’s conference in Istanbul, according to the BBC. “It is against nature.”

Erdogan also said feminists did not grasp the importance of motherhood in Islam.

“In the workplace, you cannot treat a man and a pregnant woman in the same way,” Erdogan said, according to the Anatolia news agency.

Women cannot do all the work done by men, he added, because it was against their “delicate nature”.

“Our religion regards motherhood very highly. Feminists don’t understand that, they reject motherhood,” he charged, adding that women needed equal respect rather than equality.

Erdogan also told the Istanbul meeting that justice was the solution to most of the world’s issues – including racism, anti-Semitism, and “women’s problems”.

The Turkish leader often causes controversy with his statements. Earlier this month, he claimed that Muslims had discovered the Americas more than 300 years before Christopher Columbus, and later insisted that his rewriting of history should be taught in schools.

Throughout his time in power there have been more signs of Turkey turning more extremist. In 2013, the Turkish Parliament tightened restrictions on the sale and advertising of alcoholic beverages.

A year earlier, a Turkish court formally charged internationally known pianist and composer Fazil Say with insulting Islamic religious values, in comments he made on Twitter.

Previously, Turkey’s Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk was prosecuted for his comments about the mass killings of Armenians, under a law that made it a crime to insult the Turkish identity. The government eased that law in an amendment in 2008.

In another incident in 2007, ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who received death threats because of his comments about the killings of Armenians by Turks in 1915, was shot dead outside his office in Istanbul.

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