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Abortion ban latest issue to polarise Turkey
Women share their views on government's plans for bill that would outlaw abortion beyond first month of pregnancy.
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2012 17:03

The controversy over the practice of abortion in Turkey is the latest development reflecting the division between the ruling conservative Justice and Development Party and its opponents in the country.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's statement defining abortion as "murder" on May 25 ignited discussion on the issue.

Erdogan further elaborated his stance in the following days, saying that his government was preparing a bill prohibiting abortion after the foetus is four weeks old.

The prime minister, who has frequently called on families to have at least three children, also stated that the widespread practice of cesarean section was "an operation to hinder his country’s population".

He also made an analogy between the 'Uludere incident' and abortion with the words, "Every abortion is an Uludere (incident)."

The 'Uludere incident' involved the killing of 34 Kurdish civilian smugglers by a military air strike near the Iraqi-Turkish border last December.

Recep Akdag, the health minister and Ayhan Sefer Üstün, the chairman of parliament's human rights commission, took Erdogan's discourse a step further by saying that rape victims should not have abortion as "the state would take care of their babies if necessary".

Protests held

The government's statements created uproar especially among some women's organisations and human rights groups.

These groups have loudly opposed the government's views, defending women's right to choose what do to with their body and calling on the government not to politicise the issue.

They argued that a virtual ban of abortion would increase violence against women in a country with widespread incest and rape victims, and would create illegal and unhealthy abortion markets.

Protests were organised in many regions of Turkey, the biggest one held in Istanbul, with up to 4,000 people attending it.

Abortion has been legal in Turkey since 1983 and the practice is allowed until the foetus is ten weeks old. At 14.8 abortions per 1,000 women in 2008, the country still trails far behind average global UN figures of 28 per 1,000 in the world.

In 2004, Erdogan's government backed a law criminalising adultery but later abandoned it as a result of national uproar and criticism from the EU.

Al Jazeera spoke to a selection of Turkish women to find out what their views were regarding the possible ban.


Huseyin Narin/Al Jazeera
Aysegul Ulgen, 43, hairdresser: According to our religion, abortion can be practiced only if the child damages the mother's health. Apart from this, abortion should not be implemented even if there is a possibility of disability. State is doing this to protect women.


Huseyin Narin/Al Jazeera
Fulya Hisarlioglu, 30, PhD candidate: There is an obvious serious danger (with the ban). A project of creating a nation through women's body is underway. It is a sign of conservatism.


Huseyin Narin/Al Jazeera
Vildan Hizlan, 33, architect: In the past, unauthorised improper abortions caused many negative situations. If the ban is implemented, we will go back to before the 1980s. I think the ban is wrong.


Huseyin Narin/Al Jazeera
Zehra Ozer, 74, housewife: As a person who was treated for uterine cancer, abortion should definitely be banned. It is unthinkable to make an exception for women raped. They should be cautious. Why don't we get raped?


Huseyin Narin/Al Jazeera
Hatice Celik Albayrak, 38, housewife: Although a huge part of the public will be affected negatively, I would like abortion to be banned. It is not right according to our religion. Children's lives cannot be taken by families.


Huseyin Narin/Al Jazeera
Aysen Hasek, 26, archaeologist: I returned from Afghanistan only a month ago and I was shocked to hear the government's statement. I was having a hard time understanding the life there, but when I returned to Turkey, I thought, "I wish I stayed there".


Huseyin Narin /Al Jazeera
Esma, 21, and Kismet Sen, 47, mother and daughter. Esma: Precautions should be taken beforehand. I support the ban. I was very angry with the students who attended demonstrations on the issue. It is improper. Kismet Sen: I don't support abortion but the state should not outlaw it either. The government cannot interfere with abortion.


Al Jazeera Turk/null
Afra Akay, 22, student: I don't find abortion righteous due to my beliefs. However, women who want to have abortion would be affected negatively by this (ban).


Huseyin Narin /Al Jazeera
Idil Tarim, 53, interior architect: Maternal deaths decreased thanks to abortion. Women can choose not to give birth as a result of health issues, rape and other hardships.


Huseyin Narin /Al Jazeera
Sales consultant, 32, (did not want to be photographed due to possible pressures she may face from people around her): People with unwanted babies are leaving them on the streets. A 15-year-old can get pregnant. How is she able to be a mother?


Huseyin Narin /Al Jazeera
Zehra H, 56, florist: I am the mother of three children. I had an abortion before as we could not take care of more. We grew our children on the streets. You cannot take care of children without money.


Huseyin Narin /Al Jazeera
Emdiye Cakmak, 55, housewife: I live in a rural area and I had three abortions. It should not be banned. There are people with ten children who cannot even afford to buy shoes for their children. Is this good?


Huseyin Narin /Al Jazeera
Asli Alemdar, 37, housewife: Abortion is murder and should be prohibited.


Huseyin Narin /Al Jazeera
Busra Kurt, 21, student: I am a student and I have the conscience to make my own decision. Even if it is a sin to kill a baby, the state cannot say: "You cannot do something sinful."



images:
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captions:
Aysegul Ulgen, 43, hairdresser: According to our religion, abortion can be practiced only if the child damages the mother\(***)s health. Apart from this, abortion should not be implemented even if there is a possibility of disability. State is doing this to protect women. ;*;Fulya Hisarlioglu, 30, PhD candidate: There is an obvious serious danger (with the ban). A project of creating a nation through women\(***)s body is underway. It is a sign of conservatism.;*;Vildan Hizlan, 33, architect: In the past, unauthorised improper abortions caused many negative situations. If the ban is implemented, we will go back to before the 1980s. I think the ban is wrong.;*;Zehra Ozer, 74, housewife: As a person who was treated for uterine cancer, abortion should definitely be banned. It is unthinkable to make an exception for women raped. They should be cautious. Why don\(***)t we get raped?;*;Hatice Celik Albayrak, 38, housewife: Although a huge part of the public will be affected negatively, I would like abortion to be banned. It is not right according to our religion. Children\(***)s lives cannot be taken by families.;*;Aysen Hasek, 26, archaeologist: I returned from Afghanistan only a month ago and I was shocked to hear the government\(***)s statement. I was having a hard time understanding the life there, but when I returned to Turkey, I thought, "I wish I stayed there".;*;Esma, 21, and Kismet Sen, 47, mother and daughter. Esma: Precautions should be taken beforehand. I support the ban. I was very angry with the students who attended demonstrations on the issue. It is improper. Kismet Sen: I don\(***)t support abortion but the state should not outlaw it either. The government cannot interfere with abortion.;*;Afra Akay, 22, student: I don\(***)t find abortion righteous due to my beliefs. However, women who want to have abortion would be affected negatively by this (ban). ;*;Idil Tarim, 53, interior architect: Maternal deaths decreased thanks to abortion. Women can choose not to give birth as a result of health issues, rape and other hardships.;*;Sales consultant, 32, (did not want to be photographed due to possible pressures she may face from people around her): People with unwanted babies are leaving them on the streets. A 15-year-old can get pregnant. How is she able to be a mother?;*;Zehra H, 56, florist: I am the mother of three children. I had an abortion before as we could not take care of more. We grew our children on the streets. You cannot take care of children without money.;*;Emdiye Cakmak, 55, housewife: I live in a rural area and I had three abortions. It should not be banned. There are people with ten children who cannot even afford to buy shoes for their children. Is this good?;*;Asli Alemdar, 37, housewife: Abortion is murder and should be prohibited.;*;Busra Kurt, 21, student: I am a student and I have the conscience to make my own decision. Even if it is a sin to kill a baby, the state cannot say: "You cannot do something sinful." Daylife ID:
1339160695965
Photographer:
Huseyin Narin;*;Huseyin Narin;*;Huseyin Narin;*;Huseyin Narin;*;Huseyin Narin;*;Huseyin Narin;*;Huseyin Narin ;*;Al Jazeera Turk;*;Huseyin Narin ;*;Huseyin Narin ;*;Huseyin Narin ;*;Huseyin Narin ;*;Huseyin Narin ;*;Huseyin Narin
Image Source:
Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;null;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera;*;Al Jazeera
Gallery Source:
Daylife
Daylife Raw Data:
Abortion debate in Turkeyhttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Abortion-debate-in-Turkeyen-usAl Jazeerafeedback@daylife.com10Fri, 08 Jun 2012 13:04:56 GMTSat, 09 Jun 2012 16:08:28 GMT http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Abortion-debate-in-Turkey?image_id=0bxne6s5zQ4Og

Aysegul Ulgen, 43, hairdresser: According to our religion, abortion can be practiced only if the child damages the mother's health. Apart from this, abortion should not be implemented even if there is a possibility of disability. State is doing this to protect women.

Sat, 09 Jun 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Abortion-debate-in-Turkey?image_id=0bxne6s5zQ4OgHuseyin NarinAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

Aysegul Ulgen, 43, hairdresser: According to our religion, abortion can be practiced only if the child damages the mother's health. Apart from this, abortion should not be implemented even if there is a possibility of disability. State is doing this to protect women.

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Abortion-debate-in-Turkey?image_id=0e6z3Pv85ugpH

Fulya Hisarlioglu, 30, PhD candidate: There is an obvious serious danger (with the ban). A project of creating a nation through women's body is underway. It is a sign of conservatism.

Sat, 09 Jun 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Abortion-debate-in-Turkey?image_id=0e6z3Pv85ugpHHuseyin NarinAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

Fulya Hisarlioglu, 30, PhD candidate: There is an obvious serious danger (with the ban). A project of creating a nation through women's body is underway. It is a sign of conservatism.

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Abortion-debate-in-Turkey?image_id=0eh90kmdDI0FL

Vildan Hizlan, 33, architect: In the past, unauthorised improper abortions caused many negative situations. If the ban is implemented, we will go back to before the 1980s. I think the ban is wrong.

Sat, 09 Jun 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Abortion-debate-in-Turkey?image_id=0eh90kmdDI0FLHuseyin NarinAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

Vildan Hizlan, 33, architect: In the past, unauthorised improper abortions caused many negative situations. If the ban is implemented, we will go back to before the 1980s. I think the ban is wrong.

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Abortion-debate-in-Turkey?image_id=09PH9M20ohgw1

Zehra Ozer, 74, housewife: As a person who was treated for uterine cancer, abortion should definitely be banned. It is unthinkable to make an exception for women raped. They should be cautious. Why don't we get raped?

Sat, 09 Jun 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Abortion-debate-in-Turkey?image_id=09PH9M20ohgw1Huseyin NarinAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

Zehra Ozer, 74, housewife: As a person who was treated for uterine cancer, abortion should definitely be banned. It is unthinkable to make an exception for women raped. They should be cautious. Why don't we get raped?

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Abortion-debate-in-Turkey?image_id=0aQ25aogp43rn

Hatice Celik Albayrak, 38, housewife: Although a huge part of the public will be affected negatively, I would like abortion to be banned. It is not right according to our religion. Children's lives cannot be taken by families.

Sat, 09 Jun 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Abortion-debate-in-Turkey?image_id=0aQ25aogp43rnHuseyin NarinAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

Hatice Celik Albayrak, 38, housewife: Although a huge part of the public will be affected negatively, I would like abortion to be banned. It is not right according to our religion. Children's lives cannot be taken by families.

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Abortion-debate-in-Turkey?image_id=05Il7v9fqa6Aa

Aysen Hasek, 26, archaeologist: I returned from Afghanistan only a month ago and I was shocked to hear the government's statement. I was having a hard time understanding the life there, but when I returned to Turkey, I thought, "I wish I stayed there".

Sat, 09 Jun 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Abortion-debate-in-Turkey?image_id=05Il7v9fqa6AaHuseyin NarinAl JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

Aysen Hasek, 26, archaeologist: I returned from Afghanistan only a month ago and I was shocked to hear the government's statement. I was having a hard time understanding the life there, but when I returned to Turkey, I thought, "I wish I stayed there".

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Abortion-debate-in-Turkey?image_id=022B0LkfhX3qW

Esma Sen, 21, and Kismet Sen, 47, mother and daughter. Esma: Precautions should be taken beforehand. I support the ban. I was very angry with the students who attended demonstrations on the issue. It is improper. Kismet: I don't support abortion but the state should not outlaw it either. The government cannot interfere with abortion.

Sat, 09 Jun 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Abortion-debate-in-Turkey?image_id=022B0LkfhX3qWHuseyin Narin Al JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

Esma Sen, 21, and Kismet Sen, 47, mother and daughter. Esma: Precautions should be taken beforehand. I support the ban. I was very angry with the students who attended demonstrations on the issue. It is improper. Kismet: I don't support abortion but the state should not outlaw it either. The government cannot interfere with abortion.

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Abortion-debate-in-Turkey?image_id=0aiNebe2gu6JW

Afra Akay, 22, student: I don't find abortion righteous due to my beliefs. However, women who want to have abortion would be affected negatively by this (ban).

Fri, 08 Jun 2012 13:07:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Abortion-debate-in-Turkey?image_id=0aiNebe2gu6JWAl Jazeera TurknullAl Jazeera Upload Images

Afra Akay, 22, student: I don't find abortion righteous due to my beliefs. However, women who want to have abortion would be affected negatively by this (ban).

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Abortion-debate-in-Turkey?image_id=0f2rbRJa030uF

Idil Tarim, 53, interior architect: Maternal deaths decreased thanks to abortion. Women can choose not to give birth as a result of health issues, rape and other hardships.

Sat, 09 Jun 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Abortion-debate-in-Turkey?image_id=0f2rbRJa030uFHuseyin Narin Al JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

Idil Tarim, 53, interior architect: Maternal deaths decreased thanks to abortion. Women can choose not to give birth as a result of health issues, rape and other hardships.

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Abortion-debate-in-Turkey?image_id=0ddog4N2HW7na

Sales consultant, 32, (did not want to be photographed due to possible pressures she may face from people around her): People with unwanted babies are leaving them on the streets. A 15-year-old can get pregnant. How is she able to be a mother?

Sat, 09 Jun 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Abortion-debate-in-Turkey?image_id=0ddog4N2HW7naHuseyin Narin Al JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

Sales consultant, 32, (did not want to be photographed due to possible pressures she may face from people around her): People with unwanted babies are leaving them on the streets. A 15-year-old can get pregnant. How is she able to be a mother?

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Abortion-debate-in-Turkey?image_id=0gdegGB2kI3OW

Zehra H, 56, florist: I am the mother of three children. I had an abortion before as we could not take care of more. We grew our children on the streets. You cannot take care of children without money.

Sat, 09 Jun 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Abortion-debate-in-Turkey?image_id=0gdegGB2kI3OWHuseyin Narin Al JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

Zehra H, 56, florist: I am the mother of three children. I had an abortion before as we could not take care of more. We grew our children on the streets. You cannot take care of children without money.

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Abortion-debate-in-Turkey?image_id=0f8n2D0bc6cVS

Emdiye Cakmak, 55, housewife: I live in a rural area and I had three abortions. It should not be banned. There are people with ten children who cannot even afford to buy shoes for their children. Is this good?

Sat, 09 Jun 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Abortion-debate-in-Turkey?image_id=0f8n2D0bc6cVSHuseyin Narin Al JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

Emdiye Cakmak, 55, housewife: I live in a rural area and I had three abortions. It should not be banned. There are people with ten children who cannot even afford to buy shoes for their children. Is this good?

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Abortion-debate-in-Turkey?image_id=04rU4VO3jy5Xe

Asli Alemdar, 37, housewife: Abortion is murder and should be prohibited.

Sat, 09 Jun 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Abortion-debate-in-Turkey?image_id=04rU4VO3jy5XeHuseyin Narin Al JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

Asli Alemdar, 37, housewife: Abortion is murder and should be prohibited.

http://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Abortion-debate-in-Turkey?image_id=0eLw8xog3YbqN

Busra Kurt, 21, student: I am a student and I have the conscience to make my own decision. Even if it is a sin to kill a baby, the state cannot say: "You cannot do something sinful."

Sat, 09 Jun 2012 00:00:00 GMThttp://aljazeera.smartgalleries.net/gallery/Abortion-debate-in-Turkey?image_id=0eLw8xog3YbqNHuseyin Narin Al JazeeraAl Jazeera Upload Images

Busra Kurt, 21, student: I am a student and I have the conscience to make my own decision. Even if it is a sin to kill a baby, the state cannot say: "You cannot do something sinful."



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