Turkish PM: Abortion Is Like Murder

Some 300 women in Turkey are calling Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan the “women’s enemy” over remarks he made last week in which he likened abortion to murder. On Saturday in Ankara, where he was speaking to his ruling AK-Party which follows an Islamic-conservative agenda, Erdogan said

“I see abortion as murder… I am asking you: what’s the difference between killing a baby inside a mother’s womb and killing a baby after birth?”

Erdogan then compared abortion to one specific act of violence, the December killing of 34 Kurdish civilians in Uludere, on Turkey’s Iraqi border, by a failed Turkish military airstrike. The incident has led to “intense political pressure” on his government, says the Wall Street Journal. “Each abortion is one Uludere,” said Erdogan, who also said that abortion and caesarean births are part of “a sneaky plan to wipe the country off the world stage.”

Since 1983, abortion has been legal in Turkey up till ten weeks from contraception; after that it can be performed in emergency circumstances. Abortion is on the rise in Turkey: Around 60,000 abortions were performed in 2009 and nearly 70,000 in 2011, says Agence France-Presse via Raw Story. The Wall Street Journal notes that there is “no clear consensus on the subject [of abortion] in Islam.”

But on Tuesday, Erdogan’s health minister, Recep Akdag, said that the government indeed wishes to reduce the number of abortions, notes the Associated Press. At the opening of a hospital in Istanbul, Erdogan not only said that his government is preparing legislation about abortion but that “we will pass that.”

Erdogan has long urged Turkish families to have three children to ensure that the country’s workforce is young and energetic. A December survey from the Turkish Statistical Institute found that some 25 percent of the country’s population of 75 million is under 14 years old. Abortion, says Erdogan, is nothing more than a “sneaky plan to wipe the nation off the world stage” and that “it has no place in our values.”

In addition, Erdogan has also spoken out against caesarean births, which account for about half of births in Turkey and at more than double the rate for other countries in the European Union.

Women Protest: “It’s our womb”

On Tuesday, women protesting Erdogan’s inflammatory statements stood outside his office and held up banners reading “Is the right to abortion the prime minister’s business?,” “Uludcere is murder, not abortion,” and “It’s our womb, we have Caesasarean delivery or abortion.”

Canan Gullu, head of the Federation of Women’s Associations, dubbed Erdogan’s attempts to attack women a “grave mistake” and questioned why he had not pointed out a number of other issues affecting women’s health, including ”unemployment, domestic violence, or their inadequate standing in political life, instead of making politics over women’s bodies.”

In 2004, the Turkish government supported a law that criminalized adultery; pressure from the European Union led to it abandoning it:. Women in Turkey must be ready for a fight to preserve their rights, amid an already-present shift towards conservative and repressive policies about abortion and women’s health. The government of Turkey needs to know that, as lawmaker Aylin Nazliaka, a member of the opposition Republican People’s Party said:

“The prime minister should stop guarding vaginas.”

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Photo by openDemocracy


Robert C.
Robert Cruder5 years ago

"If abortion is not murder,what then? What other word? Name?.."

Anti-abortionists are like birthers. Make an unfounded claim and then demand that your opponent prove that it is false.

If one demands to control others, one must prove why it is justified. If he does not supply that proof, the others are not obligated to prove the reverse.

My favorite term is "antihelmintic". John M. may need to look that up.

It relates to elimination of something that is living in one's body, consuming resources, exuding chemicals that change ones physiology, impacting one's health and shortening one's life.

Now John M. must show why his word is more appropriate.

AbdulAziz A.
AbdulAziz A5 years ago

I think a great majority of women know when they get or getting pregnant (unless they are intoxicated). The man and woman are both responsible for this act and if possible the baby must be allowed to see the light of the day. If however there was a rape case, mother or the baby's life was in danger then the only option would be to abort ---- but do it as soon as it becomes known and not wait till it becomes a recognisable human.

We have all seen the pictures of aborted babies (in small bits of meat) and that is thoroughly unpleasant and inhumane. Why let it get to that stage???

I don't agree with unplanned pregnancies and even worse for abortions and then very late. Women and men have the right to drive through the road and the lights as long as they don't change to red. Otherwise there will be collisions and the same rule applies to other actions of human beings. Perhaps we need to think before jumping into bed with some one and then taking several months before making the minds up.

Abortions just for the sake of aborting should not be acceptable ......

John Mansky
John Mansky5 years ago

If abortion is not murder,what then? What other word? Name?..

Virginia B.
Virginia B5 years ago

Young women in less medically advanced nations are going in wholeheartedly for caesarian births, because they feel that its is better for their figures and sexual appeal. This is all the rage in Russia for the same reasons.

Jen Matheson
Past Member 5 years ago

If he doesn't know, maybe some women should tell him.

Sharon R.
Sharon R5 years ago

Good question-- “I see abortion as murder… I am asking you: what’s the difference between killing a baby inside a mother’s womb and killing a baby after birth?”

Emily M.
Emily M5 years ago

So this guy sees the termination of 1 embryo the same as the murder of 34 independent individuals with their own lives, families, dreams, and responsibilities? Okay. I guess the antis in America can move to Turkey and see how much they like it there.

Heather G.
Heather G5 years ago

Birds leave behind chicks that can't keep up in order to save the others. Birds also leave behind any eggs that hatch late. Some birds hatch two eggs but only one (the stronger) survives. The other one is kicked out of the nest to die.

A N M.
anne M5 years ago

There are over 7 billion people in this world, and here's another idiot who thinks every fertilized human ovum has a right to be born. Considering how many Turkish people have to live abroad to get a job, maybe this gent should worry about the born people and leave pregnancy to women.

Heather G.
Heather G5 years ago

"What is the difference between unborn and born?" Is this a riddle? Or do you also think an egg is a chicken? An acorn is a tree? A blueprint is a building? There is a lot more to pregnancy than giving birth and if you can't see that you must think that women are expendable.