LOCAL > Presence of pregnant women in public is ‘disgraceful,’ says Turkish lawyer


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Ömer Tuğrul İnançer said pregnant women should not wander on the streets. REUTERS Photo

Ömer Tuğrul İnançer said pregnant women should not wander on the streets. REUTERS Photo

Turkish lawyer and Sufi thinker Ömer Tuğrul İnançer has sparked a public outcry after telling state television station TRT 1 that it was immoral for pregnant women with huge bellies to reveal themselves in public.

“Announcing pregnancy with a flourish of trumpets is against our civility. [They] should not wander on the streets with such bellies. First of all, it is not aesthetic,” İnançer said. “After seven or eight months of pregnancy, future mothers go out their husbands by car to get some fresh air. And they go out in the evening hours. But now, they are all on television. It’s disgraceful. It is not realism, it is immorality.”

After İnançer’s remarks, the program’s host said, “May God be pleased with you” in response. 
Meanwhile, TRT officials said the comments expressed belonged only to İnançer and did not reflect the official view of the channel.

Lawyer stands by remarks

İnançer defended his remarks today, insisting that the appearance of pregnant women was not aesthetic, according to Anadolu Agency.

“You get married and get pregnant. Okay, you did well. [However], this can not be singled out as the reason you are swinging your belly. The image is not aesthetic. I am still saying the same thing. Why don’t you understand?” These are venerable things. And venerable things are kept in a respectful way,” he said.

“Pregnancy is not made that apparent. Moreover, that’s why young girls are scared of giving birth,” İnançer said.

İnançer also said companies gave maternity leave not so that women could “wander” the streets, but to stay in their homes.

No isolation against women: Religious Affairs Directorate

There is not isolation against women in Islam, and being a mother is a gift, Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate said in a statement following the reactions.

“There is nothing like isolation against women in the religion. There is no isolation for pregnant women, either.  On the contrary, being mother is a gift,” the statement said, while still calling on pregnant women to dress modestly. “However, pregnant women should be more careful about their dressing – every woman should. [They] should not wear clothes showing their bellies or backs.”
It also emphasized that “we learn religion from the Quran and the life of the Prophet Muhammad.”

Reactions from lawmakers

Lawmakers from the opposition and ruling parties strongly condemned İnançer and his remarks. Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy and former minister Nimet Baş said no one could limit women according to men’s aesthetic understanding.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Aylin Nazlıaka said any understanding that dictated what women could say, how many children they could have and how to give birth was unacceptable.

“They should stop taking on women in this country. They would intervene in the air that women breath [if they could],” Nazlıaka said.

Mehmet Oktay, a Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy, also slammed İnançer’s words, recalling Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s suggestions about how many children families were supposed to have.

“[İnançer says] pregnant women on streets are disgraceful. Isn’t it disgraceful when Prime Minister Erdoğan tells [people] to have at least three children or five children?” Oktay said. “Isn’t it disgraceful when the prime minister bargains with the bride and groom for children?”

Oktay also criticized TRT1 for becoming a one-sided propaganda establishment.

İnançer’s words also attracted a flurry of criticism on social media, with the hashtag #Ömer Tuğrul İnançer trending on Twitter, while others called on Facebook users to lodge a complaint against TRT1 and İnançer at the media watchdog RTÜK.

Activists have also called for people to march on Taksim’s İstiklal Avenue at 7 p.m. with pillows under the shirts to show support for pregnant women.


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Notice on comments

Moiz Ali

8/17/2013 7:50:46 AM

"not aesthetic", hum, I wonder! Do you think his mother was thinking about "aesthetics" when she was carrying him in her belly. Muslim men are supposed to lower their gaze when approaching a woman/women who arouse/excite them; if you do so, then the "aesthetic angle" no longer exist!

Mustafa Beer

7/29/2013 8:53:48 AM

There is not and cannot ever be' anything that even resembles a true modern democracy growing from within an Islamist/ic culture. They are utterly and fundamentally diametrically opposed one another. All the western states have their foibles, downright lunacy and regularly elect utter imbeciles into office. However, I feel that all the women of Turkey should once and for all rise up and say to all the pious men. "WASH YOUR ARMPITS AND BRUSH YOUR TEETH, OFTEN! Why miss the pits when you pray?

Turkish Daughter

7/28/2013 7:28:51 PM

Hanni Bal, just what is the Muslim dress code for Men. I haven't seen it. And please enlighten us as to how it builds society? Like in Saudi Arabia? Iran?

illawarrior hill

7/28/2013 6:41:23 AM

Pregnancy is a celebration of life. If Inançer finds it unaesthetic, let him avert his gaze.Aesthetics are in the eyes of the beholders. I think fat, ugly, bearded men are unaesthetic .... can we please lock them all away until after dark.

hanni bal

7/27/2013 2:38:32 PM

Another great challenge that Muslim working women of today are facing is how to incorporate their civil rights and duty in the society without compromising their decency and Islamic norms. I feel sad for Mr. Omer's detractors for they misinterpreted him for being straight forward and right in this issue,"Dress code for men and women in Islam"plays an important role in building society.We forget these norms to move forward as we try to adapt the western dressing of vanity and vulgarity.

Agnes Smith

7/27/2013 1:13:08 PM

Guess he has a wife or few - poor things and his mother who took the trouble to give birth to him.

Not Here

7/27/2013 1:08:11 PM

I used to wonder why comments like these make headlines, but the light bulb just came on. These people are being outed for their outrageous beliefs. These news outlets are exposing them for what they really are and your comments are right on the money. We should thank these news outlets for giving those people a place to expose themselves for the kind of people they truly are. Remember, we might not agree with them, but it is good to know what they are! This is good freedom of speech!

Brazilian Observer

7/27/2013 5:15:54 AM

What I REALLY LIKE in this article is the photo of Dr. Ömer Tuğrul İnançe's mother when she was pregnat of him, walking thru the colourfull flowers. Bless you, Mrs. İnançe!

KJ Fisher

7/26/2013 9:14:55 PM

Modesty is a given however I am inclined to feel İnançer is uncomfortable about sex or is perhaps gay. I cant think of anything else that may provoke him to comment such as he has. God forbid him to come to Canada, we are modest about breast feeding but it takes place on park benches, restaurants, malls, if so required. Perhaps he has mother/father issues? I do not mean as insult but seriously... becoming pregnant, being pregnant, giving birth is a beautiful time and should be celebrated.

mike alexander

7/26/2013 5:19:19 PM

Another islamist idiot who think that women are 2nd class citizens. Shame on you paranoid ..... grey wolf, you also need to be able to provide descent life and feed the people too, because people are not animals !!!!
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