Turkish President Erdoğan reawakens Kabataş attack claims
President Erdoğan speaks at the Turkish Metal Workers’ Union’s 20th Grand Convention of Women Laborers on March 6. AA PhotoTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has reawakened discredited claims that a woman wearing a headscarf was attacked in front of Istanbul’s Kabataş docks by Gezi protesters during the anti-government demonstrations of summer 2013.
“A mother was harassed in Kabataş during the Gezi incidents even though she was with her child. Nobody condemned those who harassed that woman, nobody chased them,” Erdoğan said on March 6, speaking at the Turkish Metal Workers’ Union’s 20th Grand Convention of Women Laborers.
He was referring to claims that dozens of half-naked men had attacked a young woman and urinated on her in Kabataş on June 1, 2013. Footage from security cameras at the site which emerged months later showed no evidence of such an attack, but the claims have occasionally resurfaced in pro-government media since then.
In his speech, President Erdoğan also defended four women columnists who covered the alleged attack and were criticized for reporting “baseless” claims.
He said he had personally struggled on the issue of discrimination against woman and conveyed his condolences to all women who have lost their lives due violence.
“Placing women and men in the same competition is not defending woman’s rights. Considering woman as entrusted by God is not discrimination against woman, but rather treating them with great respect. Underlining motherhood is not discrimination,” Erdoğan said.
“We will not allow anyone to accuse one nation’s culture and beliefs over the issue of violence against women,” he added.
The president claimed that he was in favor of supporting women who want to build a career, but also repeated his famous call for all women to have at least three children.
“This is not [restricted by] money. Look at the richest families. They have only one or two children,” Erdoğan said.