CHP Deputy Nazliaka: “The prime minister ought to quit doing politics over women’s bodies”

CHP Deputy Mrs Aylin Nazlıaka

Abortion sparks raging debate in Turkey

Turkish Prime Minister’s recents comments condemning abortion and ceaserian birth spark debate among those who say abortion is a right within the boundaries of law and those who support Erdoğan’s words.

A group of women gather outside of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan’s office in İstanbul, protesting his comments on abortion. ‘The decision is up to us,’ wrote on one of the banners carried by women.

The Turkish prime minister’s remarks against abortion and caesarean births over the weekend have provoked a divisive debate, with Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Şahin (the only women minister in the Cabinet) emerging to offer her vigorous support for Recep Tayyip Erdoğan yesterday.

“It is out of question for us to tamper with this right [to life] as the [governing] political will,” Şahin said, calling or the use of family planning methods to render it unnecessary to resort to abortion. “Caesarean [birth] is a surgical operation even if it [seems] painless. It bears risks in terms of the mother’s health,” she added.

Erdoğan said May 25 that he considered abortion to be “murder” while also speaking out against Caesarean births. In Turkey, abortion is legal during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.

Opposition’s reactions

Certain opposition figures and other nongovernmental organizations have excoriated the prime minister for his comments.

“I am deeply disappointed by the prime minister’s comments… The prime minister ought to quit doing politics over women’s bodies. To put it in a nutshell, I say the prime minister ought to quit standing guard over women’s vaginas. The totalitarian regime has brought Turkey to the point of intervening in people’s private lives,” said Aylin Nazlıaka, an Ankara deputy from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).

Uludere comparison

Erdoğan also compared abortion to last year’s botched air raid that claimed 34 lives in Uludere in southeastern Turkey.

“I am a prime minister who opposes Caesarean births, and I know all this is being done on purpose. 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,” Erdoğan said.

Turkey needs a young and dynamic population that constitutes the basis of its economy, he said, adding that they were going to strive to increase the country’s population.

“Insofar as human rights are concerned, abortion constitutes a right within the boundaries of law, as it is a situation that concerns women. It has been scientifically examined, and the question of when [the fetus] constitutes a living being is a scientific matter. Giving birth to a child a woman cannot look after is far more harmful both psychologically and economically,” said lawyer Hale Akgün, from Istanbul Bar Association.

HDN May/28/2012

About CHP EU Representation

The CHP was founded on 9 September 1923, about one and half month before the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey. The first President of modern Turkey’s oldest party was M. Kemal Atatürk. Today CHP is a social-democratic party, member of the Socialist International and associate member of the Socialist Group at the European Parliament. The scope of the CHP bureau in Brussels is not limited to the bilateral framework of Turkey's EU accession process. Issues such as the information society, energy policies, social development, climate change, international trade and security are among the different focus areas. The EU-Turkey relations are about integration and need multiple, plural and horizontal channels of communication. The CHP supports and promotes Turkey's EU membership process also by being more present and active in Brussels The CHP's Representative to the EU is Ms Kader Sevinç who previously worked as an MEP advisor at the European Parliament and in the private sector.
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