Deputy PM argues with opposition deputy over the word 'vagina'

Deputy PM argues with opposition deputy over the word 'vagina'

Deputy PM argues with opposition deputy over the word vagina

Bülent Arınç. AA Photo

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has stirred controversy in the Turkish Parliament after making a statement appearing to denigrate the gender of main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Ankara deputy Aylin Nazlıaka, daily Milliyet has reported.

"The woman deputy who criticized us on this issue [the associations' law] is not present in Parliament at the moment," Arınç said at Parliament.

Nazlıaka had made a speech before Arınç, addressing a number of questions directly to him instead of the General Assembly. Arınç said she should have looked at Parliament while making her speech, instead of him. "I am a shy person, I could get bothered when an elegant lady looks at me," he said.

The deputy prime minister also rekindled the abortion debate that raged in Turkey earlier this year. "I also got extremely embarrassed during the abortion discussions when you [Nazlıaka], as a married woman with children, openly spoke of one of your organs [vagina]," he said.

Nazlıaka had criticized the government's stance on abortions in May, saying: “The prime minister should quit playing politics over women’s bodies. To put it in a nutshell, I say the prime minister should quit standing guard over women’s vaginas. The totalitarian regime has brought Turkey to the point of intervening in people’s private lives.”

Following Arınç's latest comments, Nazlıaka issued a response. "We are here [in Parliament] due to our personality, not to our femininity or our elegance. I would be happier if he was bothered by my statements, rather than by my gender," she said. "I am deeply upset by the deputy prime minister's statements, both for me and for the women of my country ... He should have been more serious in his manner of speaking."

Nazlıaka withdrew the questions she had previously planned to ask in order to protest Arınç's words.