Erdogan asks new deputy to have more children to outbid PKK members, whom he claims to have 15

Erdogan asks new deputy to have more children to outbid PKK members, whom he claims to have 15
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Opposition parties slammed Erdogan of referring to the Kurds via saying PKK and condemned him of racism

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on his new deputy to have more children, claiming that PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] members are having 15.

"How many children do you have," Erdogan asked Mehmet Ali Celebi who has recently joined his Justice and Development Party (AKP). Following Celebi’s answer that he has one child, "No, we need to increase the numbers. Children are very important. Look, the PKK has 5, 10 and 15," Erdogan said to Celebi and his wife, standing next to him. 

Erdogan’s remarks prompted heavy criticism from political opposition.

Meral Danis Bestas, the parliamentary group chair of pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) strongly condemned Erdogan, blaming the president of being racist.

“Erdogan knows very well that PKK members do not have children. He actually makes a national statement by referring to the Kurdish population,” Bestas said.

“This is being racist. This is being anti-Kurdish. This is the language of hate,” she said.

Accusing Erdogan of seeing the Kurds under a constant population engineering, “They consider having many children as an act of terrorism,” Bestas said. 

“Women decide for themselves whether or not having children,” she said, denouncing the “impunity of talking about women’s bodies and their reproduction.” 

Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) parliamentary group deputy chair Ozgur Ozel also said that he was saddened by Erdogan’s remarks. 

“This suits Erdogan but does not suit Turkey,” he said.

“Who are you to say that PKK members have 5 or 10 children? If you want, you do as many too, as a method of combating the group. Everyone understood what you have meant, but I'm ashamed to say it,” Ozel said.

“A president cannot say to an academic who makes a career, 'let your career be to have children'. It is not acceptable, it is shameful,” he said.

Ahmet Davutoglu, the leader of the Future Party (GP) said Erdogan was referring to Kurds by saying PKK. 

“Since the children of this country were not born in the Qandil mountains, your point is very clear, Mr. Erdogan. Your remarks are disrespectful to human rights and women's rights. Every child born in this country is an honorable citizen of the Republic of Turkey. Discrimination among children is racism,” he said.

Ali Babacan, the leader of Turkey's Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) said Erdogan’s remarks are shameful. 

“He tells every woman he sees how many children they should have. He knows that they [PKK members] do not give birth to 5-10 children on the mountains, but he accuses millions of our Kurdish citizens of terrorism. This is shameful,” Babacan said.

Meanwhile Bulent Turan, the parliamentary group deputy chair of Erdogan’s AKP denied the claims “hatefully” that Erdogan referred Kurds by saying PKK.