Istanbul: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described efforts to promote birth control as “treason”, saying contraception risked causing a whole generation to dry up, reports said on Monday.
Erdogan made the comments on Sunday, addressing the bride and groom at the wedding ceremony of the son of businessman Mustafa Kefeli who is one of his close allies.
He told the newly-weds that using birth control was a betrayal of Turkey’s ambition to make itself a flourishing nation with an expanding young population.
“One or two (children) is not enough. To make our nation stronger, we need a more dynamic and younger population. We need this to take Turkey above the level of modern civilisations,” Erdogan said.
“In this country, they (opponents) have been engaged in the treason of birth control for years and sought to dry up our generation,” Erdogan said.
Erdogan went on to praise marriage and said: “Marriage is a long journey. There are good days and bad days. Good days become more frequent as we share them and bad days finally bring happiness if we are patient.”
“One (child) means loneliness, two means rivalry, three means balance and four means abundance. And God takes care of the rest,” he added, in comments reported by the Dogan news agency, which also posted a video of his speech.
The Islamist-rooted government of Erdogan has long been accused by critics of seeking to impose strict Islamic values on the private lives of Turks as well as limiting the civil liberties of women.
Erdogan — who has two sons and two daughters — has drawn the ire of feminist groups for declaring that every woman should have three children and declaring in a speech in November that women are not equal to men.
He has also made proposals to limit abortion rights, the morning-after pill and Caesarian sections. But this appears to be his strongest attack on the principle of birth control yet.
Erdogan has repeatedly warned that Turks must have more children to prevent the rapid ageing of the population.
Turkey’s population has risen exponentially in the recent decades and now stands at over 76 million.