TurkeyMuslimsBirthControl
“Not pregnant” by blmurch is licensed under CC BY 2.0

To grow the Muslim population in Turkey, the president has warned against using birth control and suggested women have at least three children.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the current president of Turkey, warned Muslim families against the use of family planning and birth control in a recent live televised address in Istanbul.

President Erdogan, who came to power in August 2014 after serving as Turkish prime minister for 12 years, is a staunch Muslim and so is his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) which has been ruling since 2002 and also most of his supporters who can be described as ‘conservative Muslims in the countryside.’

Turkey has a secular constitution, but the widely Islamic leadership and population has affected some changes to the nation. According to President Erdogan, well-educated Turkish women ought to bear at least three children by avoiding birth control and any other family planning methods in a bid to ensure the continuous growth of the Turkish population. He added that the use of contraception is contrary to Islamic culture and the Quran prophetic teachings and therefore women should work to increase their descendants and the nation’s population.

According to a report by the World Bank, the population in the nation has doubled from 30 million as of 1960 to well over 75 million in 2014. This is a notable increase when compared to nations like Germany, whose population by 2014 was around 80 million as compared to 72 million in 1960, showing just a 10% increase.

Another 2015 study by Pew Research has predicted that by 2050, Islam, the fastest growing religion in the world currently, will have overtaken Christianity. This study is synonymous with the growth of populations in Islamic nations like Turkey.

The president is himself a father of four and his anti-contraception campaign has even led him to describing family planning as treason in a speech he made at a wedding in 2014. Erdogan has also made other controversial statements, particularly about women where during the First International Women and Justice Summit back in 2014 in Istanbul, he made a speech stating that women were not equal to men and that feminists were to blame for the increase in the number of women rejecting the ideas of motherhood. He further stated that the concept of motherhood could not be explained to feminists as they simply did not understand it.

With fertility rates of 2.14 children per woman as of 2015, Turkey is just over the replacement level and currently has one of the highest fertility rates in Europe. This report is based on studies by the Turkish Statistical Institute and the BBC reports.

Moreover, according to the United Nations Population Fund, Turkey has a growing but unmet need for quality family planning methods with one fifth of married women in the nation resorting to methods like abortion in a bid to control their fertility.

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