Turkey’s president has slammed family planning, calling for an increase in “descendents.” The leader has previously faced criticism for urging mothers to have at least three children and calling birth control “treason.”
Turkey’s allies uneasy
Erdogan’s efforts to put down the protests have been met with criticism from Turkey’s allies.
“It causes me great concern when I see the use of water cannon,” the German government’s human rights commissioner, Markus Löning told the private news broadcaster NTV on Tuesday. He also reminded Ankara of its commitments to the rights of freedom of speech and to assemble freely.
“We call on the Turkish government to respect the rights of its citizens,” Löning said.
The United States, another close ally of Turkey, voiced its concerns about previous reports of violence.
“We continue to have serious concerns about the reports of excessive use of force by police and large numbers of injuries and damage to property, and welcome calls for these events to be investigated,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Monday.
“We also continue to urge all parties to refrain from provoking violence.
Most pointedly, however, he asked if Turkey wanted to follow a law passed by two drunks or the law of God. Since then, the country has been filled with speculation as to who Erdogan may have been referring to. Many believe it was an attack on Atatürk and his Prime Minister Ismet Inönü, who were in office when the ban on alcohol in the country was lifted in 1926. Furthermore, Atatürk is rumored to have died from cirrhosis of the liver. As such, Erdogan’s comments are seen as an attack on a national hero.
But it isn’t just the Kemalists who are now venting their rage at the Turkish prime minister. Demonstrations have been reported in more than 40 cities, and they are drawing more than students and intellectuals. Families with children, women in headscarves, men in suits, hipsters in sneakers, pharmacists, tea-house proprietors — all are taking to the streets to register their displeasure.