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'Digging soil is against their delicate nature': Turkish president says women are not equal to men

‘I would kiss my mother’s feet…because the scent of heaven was there.’

Turkey Erdogan Source: AP/Press Association Images

TURKEY’S PRESIDENT RECEP Tayyip Erdogan today declared that women are not equal to men – in an address before a women’s justice summit in Istanbul, which included his own daughter Sumeyye.

Erdogan launched a bitter attack against feminists in Turkey, claiming they reject the concept of motherhood.

The devoutly Muslim president said that biological differences between women and men meant they cannot serve the same functions in life:

Our religion (Islam) has defined a position for women (in society) – motherhood.
Some people can understand this, while others can’t.
You cannot explain this to feminists because they don’t not accept the concept of motherhood.

Erdogan recalled kissing his mother’s feet as a child, according to Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman:

My mother would be shy, but I used to say – ‘Mother, don’t pull your feet away, because the scent of heaven is there.’
Sometimes she would cry…

Turkey U2 Bono meets Sumeyye Erdogan, as her father, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan looks on. Source: AP/Press Association Images

He went on to say that women and men cannot be treated equally “because it is against human nature.”

Their characters, habits and physiques are different… You cannot place a mother breastfeeding her baby on an equal footing with men.
You cannot get women to do every kind of work men can do…
You cannot tell them to go out and dig the soil. This is against their delicate nature.

The Islamic-rooted government of Erdogan has long been accused by critics of seeking to erode the country’s secular principles and limiting the civil liberties of women.

Erdogan has also drawn the ire of feminist groups for declaring that every woman in Turkey should have three children and with proposals to limit abortion rights and the morning-after pill.

Contains reporting by AFP.

First posted at 5pm.

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Dan MacGuill

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