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The past Sunday saw even more protests in Turkey after the government insisted on a bill that would outlaw abortions only four weeks after conception, a time when many women are still unsure if they are pregnant. The law may also restrict the ability for women to elect for a Caesarian operation when giving birth. Unlike previous protests earlier in June, this protest was a response to the bill from mostly men and was held in the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul.
A survey published in the Turkish newspaper HaberTurk showed that 55.5% of those interviewed about the ban were against the newly proposed law. Although the majority seem to oppose the creation of the law Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is still trying to push it through. His party, AKP Party, has at least fifty percent of the votes in the parliament after the most recent parliamentary election in June of 2011.
Previously women have displayed their distaste of the proposed law with large protests. One woman stated, “we are here today because we are against this law that’s forbidding abortion because abortion is a woman’s right and this is not about abortion being a bad thing or anything. It’s about government wants woman to be only wife and mother and we are against it. We are individuals, we have rights.”
Erdogan opposes abortion and c-sections for several reasons. Erdogan is a moral and religious conservative and believes that abortion is murder. Additionally Erdogan believes that c-sections, which can limit how many children a woman can have, and abortions are conspiracies against the demographic growth in Turkey. In order to ensure Turkey’s future as one of the top economies in the world Erdogan wants the population to grow quickly. He also wants the Turkish population to grow faster than the Kurdish, which is currently not happening.
The new group protesting the ban is a group of men called “Irritated Men,” formed in 2008 in response to violence against women. The group gathered in Istanbul on 5 June 2012 to talk about the anti-abortion bill.
After comments made by the mayor of Ankara, “Irritated Men” decided something needed to be done. The Ankara mayor Melih Gökçek said “women kill their babies born out of adultery. Why do babies die because of these so-called mothers? Let mothers kill themselves.”
Orhan Cerav, the spokesman for the group, stated, “our agenda, up until a week ago was the murder of women, now we’re talking about an abortion ban.” The group also recognizes the need for male support. Cerav told Hürriyet Daily News: “public opposition by a male front is badly needed. That’s why we gathered. It’s not just women; men are also irritated by the government’s anti-abortion campaign, but we also should show it.”
The group “Irritated Men” was supposedly formed after the rape and murder of Italian artist Pippa Bacca. Bacca was hitchhiking to the Middle East from Europe in a wedding dress to promote world peace when she went missing in Turkey and was later found dead.