Have at least 3 kids, Erdogan tells women

ISTANBUL • President Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday urged Turkish women to have at least three children, saying a woman's life was "incomplete" if she failed to have offspring.

Mr Erdogan's comments were the latest in a series of controversial remarks aimed at encouraging women to help boost the country's population, which had already risen exponentially in recent years.

The President stressed that he was a strong supporter of women having careers, but noted that this should not be an "obstacle" to having children.

"Rejecting motherhood means giving up on humanity," he said in a speech marking the opening of the new building of the Women and Democracy Association (Kadem).

"I would recommend having at least three children," he added.

"The fact that a woman is attatched to her professional life should not prevent her from being a mother," he noted, saying that Turkey had taken important steps to support working mothers.

Mr Erdogan had said last Monday that family planning and contraception were not for Muslim families, sparking fury among women's activists.

According to the statistics office, Turkey's population increased to 78.741 million last year - a growth rate of around 1.3 per cent. In 2000, the figure was less than 68 million.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 06, 2016, with the headline 'Have at least 3 kids, Erdogan tells women'. Print Edition | Subscribe