Erdogan: To put men and women on equal footing is 'against nature'

By Aileen Graef Follow @AileenGraef Contact the Author   |  Nov. 24, 2014 at 4:29 PM
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ISTANBUL, Turkey, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said gender equality is "against nature" and feminists "don't accept the concept of motherhood."

Erdogan was speaking at a women's conference when he tried to appeal to his more conservative constituents while angering his more liberal voters.

"You cannot put women and men on an equal footing," he said. "It is against nature."

He then stressed the importance of motherhood for Muslim women, saying feminists' rejection of motherhood makes it a concept impossible for them to understand.

"Paradise lies at the feet of mothers," said Erdogan. "You cannot explain this to feminists because they don't accept the concept of motherhood."

This is not the first time the Turkish president has aired his conservative feelings about women's rights. He has previously spoken against abortion, birth control access, birth by Caesarian section and has said Turkish women should have three children each. One of his cabinet members also said women should not laugh in public.

Erdogan made waves with controversial comments earlier this month when he said Muslims discovered the Americas before Christopher Columbus.

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