Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for Muslims citizens of Turkey to renounce birth control and to increase the population.
“We will multiply our descendants. They talk about population planning, birth control. No Muslim family can have such an approach,” Erdogan said in a live-broadcast speech in Istanbul on Monday. “Nobody can interfere in God's work. The first duty here belongs to mothers.”
The controversial president said he believes it is the responsibility of “well-educated future mothers” to refuse contraception and contribute toward the growth of the Muslim society.
Erdogan, himself a father of four children, is an orthodox Muslim and the leader of the ultra-conservative AK Party.
This isn’t the first time he has voiced his disapproval of the use of contraceptives.
Previously, Erdogan stated “a women is above all a mother,” and she should not try to be free of her responsibility by “destroying the notion of family,” in a speech about the virtues of motherhood on the International Women’s Day, March 8.
This man needs to stop talking now.— Rana H. (@RanaHarbi) May 30, 2016
Turkey's #Erdogan: No Muslim family should engage in family planning, birth control.
In a similar address in 2013, Erdogan urged Turkish women to bear at least three children. He's also very vocal against abortion and birth via C-section.
“One or two children mean bankruptcy. Three children mean we are not improving but not receding either,” Erdogan said. “So, I repeat, at least three children are necessary in each family, because our population risks aging.”
In the same speech, he has also said that women cannot be treated as men’s equal due to their “delicate nature.”
"Our religion regards motherhood very highly," he said. "Feminists don't understand that, they reject motherhood."
Turkey’s fertility rate is 2.14 children per woman in 2015, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute, half of what it was in 1980. Still, the country’s birth rate is one of the highest in Europe and its relatively young population is still growing.
Turkey has witnessed a rise in population in the last few decades. While the country had a population of 30 million in 1960, it more than doubled by 2016, and the current population stands at more than 78 million.