Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan received criticism after saying that men and women are not in equal positions.
Erdogan made the comments during a meeting where he took a dig at feminists by saying, “You cannot bring women and men into equal positions; that is against nature because their nature is different.”
“You cannot subject a pregnant woman to the same working conditions as a man,” he said. “You cannot make a mother who has to breastfeed her child equal to a man. You cannot make women do everything men do like the communist regimes did. You cannot tell them to go out and dig the soil, this is against her delicate nature.”
Erdogan’s political party has an Islamist background, which opponents see as a threat to the country that is seen as a pillar of successful secularism in the Middle East.
“Our religion has given women a station: the station of motherhood,” Erdogan added. “Some people can understand this, while others can’t. You cannot explain this to feminists because they don’t accept the concept of motherhood.”
Following the comment, Erdogan received a flurry of criticism on social media, which one user with the Twitter handle Kassandra_Troy saying, “Erdogan said today that ‘religion has upheld status for women’, which proves that secularism is dead in Turkey.”
Pakistan’s Karachi Post said, “Ataturk must be rolling in his grave at what Erdogan has to say about women’s role in society,” referring to the founding father of secular Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.