Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday called on Turkish women to have at least three children, and urged mothers who voted for his ruling Justice and Development Party to “correctly raise their children,” in an interview with Turkish channel NTV.
“It’s my right as president to say that it’s beneficial that women give birth to at least three children,” Erdogan said.
“If [President Vladimir] Putin was able to say such a statement in Russia [telling women to have three or more children], why I can’t say it in Turkey?”
Erdogan also highlighted fathers’ “obligations to fulfill their families’ financial needs.”
He has previously spoken out against abortion, calling it a “secret plot” to slow Turkey’s growth, as well as contraception. This is not the first time that Erdogan has made a public plea for more births.
Al-Monitor reported in February that Erdogan urged women to have more children after statistics showed that Turkey’s birth rate had fallen to an all-time low of 0.12 percent in 2012, meaning that the average number of births per woman was two, down from 4.33 in 1978.
“Population means power,” Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babcan said last year on the Kanal 24 news channel, citing the European Union.
“Twenty-seven countries sit there at the table, but when Germany and France decide on something, those with populations of 1.5 million to 2 million like Estonia and Latvia are hardly having any say,” Babcan added.