Three children

Turkish women need to give birth to at least three children. So says Prime Minister Erdogan. He said it once, nicely planned to coincide with International Womens’ Day, and that turned out not to be a slip of the tongue because he repeated his advice. Three children, because that’s the only way to maintain Turkish population levels. I have some advice for Erdogan. 1. Keep on changing the laws on retirement, so people feel unsure about their income in their old age, because that might cause them to have more children so there will be sons and daughters to take care of them. 2. At the same time: invest in fighting unemployment, because people need an income to feed their children. 3. Stop your efforts to make women in headscarves go to university: everybody knows that the more education women get, the less children they have. 4. Read and act upon a recent World Health Organization report that found the mortality rate among infants and new mothers in Turkey is the same as in Kenya and Bangladesh, mainly due to a lack of professional midwives and of affordable near-by hospitals, as well as a lack of hygiene during home birth. In other words: invest in health care to keep the babies and mothers alive. 5. Please don’t be so arrogant as to think that women base the size of their family on what a prime minister wants.

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