Last week at an opening ceremony for a hospital in Istanbul, Turkey Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made some strong remarks against abortion indicating the need for more restrictive abortion policy.
“I see abortion as murder. No one should allow this,” said Erdogan. “Either you kill a baby in a mother’s womb or after birth. There is no difference.”
The Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) known for their advocacy in advancing abortion rights in developing countries, condemned the Prime Minister’s remarks and responded spewing the same nonsense widely used among abortion rights activists that restrictive abortion laws are harmful to women (implicating a link to higher maternal mortality rates), despite a recent report refuting this claim. CRR also erroneously claims that international treaties and protocols, some that Turkey has signed, grants women access to legal abortion – again false!
Following the Prime Minister’s remarks Turkey’s Health Minister stated that the government would take steps to reduce the growing number of abortions and Caesarean sections. Mr. Erdogan believes this growing trend to be part of a greater plan to reduce the population in Turkey.
“I know these are steps taken to prevent this country’s population from growing further. I see abortion as murder, and I call upon those circles and members of the media who oppose my comments: You live and breathe Uludere. I say every abortion is an Uludere.”
“Uludere” referred to by Mr. Erdogan was the location of an airstrike last December in which 34 civilians were mistakenly identified as a group of militants and were killed by Turkish F-16 jets.
Abortion in Turkey is currently legal until 10 weeks, and after to save the life of the mother or for fetal abnormalities. The number of abortions has risen in Turkey to almost 70,000 last year.