In a speech delivered on November 24, 2014, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: You cannot give women and men equal status. That is contrary to nature.” Islam has assigned “the highest of all positions” to women – motherhood, he said.
Following are excerpts from the speech, which was posted on the Internet:
Turkish President Erdogan: What do women need? Here they talk about male-female equality. Women’s equality with other women is correct, men’s equality with other men is correct, and women’s equality in the eyes of the law is of the ultimate importance. That is what needs to be achieved.
What women need is not equality, but to become of equal value. That means justice. This is what we need. You cannot give women and men equal status. That is contrary to nature. They were created differently. Their nature is different. Their constitution is different.
In the workplace, you cannot impose the same conditions on a pregnant woman as a man. A mother who has to nurse her baby cannot have equal status with a man who has no such responsibilities.
You cannot make women work in every kind of job that men do, as was the case in Communist regimes. Hand her a shovel and let her dig? Absolutely not. This goes against her delicate nature.
Therefore, instead of the notion of equality, the most important criterion is the notion of equal value, which means justice.
Our religion [of Islam] has assigned a certain position to the woman. What position is that? Motherhood. Our religion has given her an additional position. What position is that? [In Islam], “Paradise lies at the feet of the mother.” It did not place it under the feet of the father, but only of the mother. Therefore, the sole of a mother’s foot must be kissed. I personally used to kiss the soles of my dear mother’s feet. My mother used to act shy and reluctant. I used to say to her: “My dear mother, don’t withdraw your foot. It has the scent of Paradise.” At times, she cried. Motherhood is amazing.
It is the highest of all positions. It is a very special place. Some people understand this, and others do not. You cannot explain this to feminists, for example. They do not accept motherhood. They have a problem with [motherhood]. But those who do understand are enough for us. We will continue on our path with them.
My brothers and sisters, women are being murdered. We must think about it realistically. Can a true believer - I am not talking about perverts, but about those who are really familiar with our values – murder women or perpetrate violence against women? Is it possible? No, it is not, because speaking as a Muslim, I can say that our religion of Islam means peace.
We are the followers of the religion of peace. As the followers of the religion of peace, you can never perpetrate such cruelty against a woman. You cannot commit violence.
And what does Islam command to the young? If your parents are growing old near you, it commands you never to complain when taking care of them. This is how sensitive our value system is.