I am a defender of women's rights: Turkish President Erdoğan
ANKARA – Agence France-Presse
AA PhotoTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Nov. 26 insisted he had advocated women's rights throughout his political career, accusing the media of "distorting" his controversial comments on equality between men and women.
"You cannot put women and men on an equal footing. Equivalence rather than equality is what women need. That's what I said," Erdogan told a meeting of businessmen in Istanbul.
"Nobody can slander me or my colleagues when it is obvious how I have personally defended the women's movement throughout my 40-year political career," he said.
Erdoğan told an international conference on justice and rights for women on Monday that women should not be regarded as equal to men and claimed feminists in Turkey reject the idea of motherhood.
He also suggested that "justice rather than equality" was what women needed, adding that manual labor work was against women's "delicate nature."
His comments dismissing the idea of gender equality sparked an outcry among women's rights activists who accused Erdoğan, who has dominated Turkey's political scene for more than a decade, of blatant sexism.
However, the president defended his words on Wednesday, accusing the media of "lacking morals" by distorting what he had said.
He called on those he said had defamed him to "look themselves in the mirror while it is obvious how I emboldened the women's movement within the political party I was affiliated with."