The president of a modern, NATO country doesn't think that men and women are equal

Turkey is a great, big, grown up country that, until about a decade ago, was a modern, secular democracy - a legacy of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, a former army officer in World War I who brought Turkey into the 20th century with his secular reforms.

But since President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took power in 2003, he has gradually transformed Turkey into a backward Islamist state.

It's laughable that Turkey wants to join the European Union, especially after Erdogan gave us the benefit if his wisdom regarding the equality of the sexes.

BBC:

"You cannot put women and men on an equal footing," he told a meeting in Istanbul. "It is against nature."

He also said feminists did not grasp the importance of motherhood in Islam.

His comments often seek to appeal to his pious core supporters, says the BBC's Mark Lowen in Istanbul, but they anger more liberal voters.

Turks who have more secular views argue that the government's social policies are taking the country in a dangerous direction, our correspondent says.

Mr Erdogan has previously urged women to have three children, and has lashed out against abortion and birth by Caesarean section.

'Delicate nature'

His latest remarks were delivered at a women's conference in Istanbul.

"In the workplace, you cannot treat a man and a pregnant woman in the same way," Mr Erdogan said, according to the Anatolia news agency.

Women cannot do all the work done by men, he added, because it was against their "delicate nature".

"Our religion regards motherhood very highly," he said. "Feminists don't understand that, they reject motherhood."

He said women needed equal respect rather than equality.

Mr Erdogan also told the Istanbul meeting that justice was the solution to most of the world's issues - including racism, anti-Semitism, and "women's problems".

The Turkish leader often courts controversy with his statements.

Earlier this month, he claimed that Muslims had discovered the Americas more than 300 years before Christopher Colombus.

It's his problem if he wants to condemn 50% of his population to inequality. He will lose their energy, their innovation, their numerous contributions to the health and well being of society. It's why western countries will always have a huge advantage over Muslim countries that don't grant women equal rights.

Turkey has been and continues to be NATO's problem child. The sentiments expressed by Erdogan only add to the perception that Turkey is moving backward, sliding into an Islamist abyss from which there is no escape.

Turkey is a great, big, grown up country that, until about a decade ago, was a modern, secular democracy - a legacy of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, a former army officer in World War I who brought Turkey into the 20th century with his secular reforms.

But since President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took power in 2003, he has gradually transformed Turkey into a backward Islamist state.

It's laughable that Turkey wants to join the European Union, especially after Erdogan gave us the benefit if his wisdom regarding the equality of the sexes.

BBC:

"You cannot put women and men on an equal footing," he told a meeting in Istanbul. "It is against nature."

He also said feminists did not grasp the importance of motherhood in Islam.

His comments often seek to appeal to his pious core supporters, says the BBC's Mark Lowen in Istanbul, but they anger more liberal voters.

Turks who have more secular views argue that the government's social policies are taking the country in a dangerous direction, our correspondent says.

Mr Erdogan has previously urged women to have three children, and has lashed out against abortion and birth by Caesarean section.

'Delicate nature'

His latest remarks were delivered at a women's conference in Istanbul.

"In the workplace, you cannot treat a man and a pregnant woman in the same way," Mr Erdogan said, according to the Anatolia news agency.

Women cannot do all the work done by men, he added, because it was against their "delicate nature".

"Our religion regards motherhood very highly," he said. "Feminists don't understand that, they reject motherhood."

He said women needed equal respect rather than equality.

Mr Erdogan also told the Istanbul meeting that justice was the solution to most of the world's issues - including racism, anti-Semitism, and "women's problems".

The Turkish leader often courts controversy with his statements.

Earlier this month, he claimed that Muslims had discovered the Americas more than 300 years before Christopher Colombus.

It's his problem if he wants to condemn 50% of his population to inequality. He will lose their energy, their innovation, their numerous contributions to the health and well being of society. It's why western countries will always have a huge advantage over Muslim countries that don't grant women equal rights.

Turkey has been and continues to be NATO's problem child. The sentiments expressed by Erdogan only add to the perception that Turkey is moving backward, sliding into an Islamist abyss from which there is no escape.