Skip to main content

Erdogan’s Family Policy Conservative, But Not Islamist

The Turkish prime minister's family policies are more nationalist than Islamist.
Members of the Savun family pose in their home in town of Cizre in Sirnak province, near the border with Syria March 23, 2013. Turkey's fledgling peace process with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group is all over the headlines. After three decades of war, 40,000 deaths and a devastating impact on the local economy, everybody seems ready for peace. Pro-Kurdish politicians are focused on boosting minority rights and stronger local government for the Kurds, who make up about 20 percent of Turkey's

A universally known saying, also used in the Turkish language, suggests, “You reap what you sow.” Perhaps keeping that in mind, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan hopes that each Turkish family will yield three children. According to a highly ranked Justice and Development Party (AKP) official, “three children” will even serve as a slogan in the upcoming local elections, during which the ruling party plans to emphasize the risk of an aging population.

The ruling AKP has proposed measures including prolonging maternity leave from 16 to 24 weeks, financial support per child, half-day working options for pregnant women, child care in companies and a guarantee of return to work. Like everything else in Turkey, these measures bear the risk of becoming front lines in the culture war. Yet it would be wise to try some objective analysis instead of pro- or anti-AKP propaganda.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 for annual access.