Jun 26 2013

al-Monitor: Erdogan’s ‘Three Children’ Campaign Alienates Women

Newswire | Published 26 Jun 2013, 12:39 pm | Comments Off on al-Monitor: Erdogan’s ‘Three Children’ Campaign Alienates Women -

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During the 15 days the AKP government pulled out security forces from Gezi Park and its environs in Istanbul and left the park to protesters, the young people there used also humor to express their reactions to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

One the most memorable protests was by three young protesters holding a placard saying, “Hey Erdogan! Do you want three children like us?” They had it photographed and shared it via social media.

There also were many indications during the Gezi protests that Erdogan’s using every opportunity to advise women to have at least three children played a role in the anger against him.

Forefront feminists and urbanized, modern women resented Erdogan for telling them how many children to have and saw it as patriarchal, patronizing attitude. Still, Erdogan continued the “at least three children” campaign after dispersing the Gezi protests with police forces.

On June 19, while delivering a speech in Ankara at a ceremony to launch the “To Be a Family Project” from the Ministry of Families and Social Policies, Erdogan explained why he wants mothers to have at least three children; this offered important clues to his mindset:

“They operated birth-control mechanisms for years in this country. They nearly castrated our citizens, our people going as far as using medical procedures. This is what cesarean section is all about. While they were doing that, it was like committing murder. They fooled people. They said, ‘You are going to die; we are going to save you.’ But their goal was different. … Their objective was to reduce the population of this nation and for this nation to lag behind in the competition of nations. We are disrupting this game. We have to. That is why there is much to do by our families. I am especially calling on mothers, on our women. You are the primary force to disrupt this game. You have to take a stand.’’

It is understood that Erdogan believes that in “the past there were internal and external enemies who wanted to expunge this nation with birth control policies.” His reaction to these “enemies” assumes proportions of “paranoid nationalism.”

This is nothing new. If we go back, we read that in a 2008 panel meeting in Anatolian city of Usak, on the occasion of World Women’s Day, he advised, “At least three children.” He said: “I am not talking to you as a prime minister but as a pained brother. We must preserve our young population as is. In an economy what counts are the people. They want to obliterate the Turkish nation. This is exactly what they are doing. Have at least three children to keep our young population intact.’’

Erdogan also opposes abortion and cesarean sections. There are news reports and claims that there are efforts to make performing abortions and caesarean sections impossible, particularly in conservative Anatolian towns.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/06/erdogan-three-children-campaign-women.html#ixzz2XLwabFxX

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