Ankara — Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan released a strong pro-life statement this week, condemning abortion-driven population control measures. The Prime Minister’s statement coincides with a Personhood USA presentation in Ankara to leading academicians and future leaders regarding population and development. These high-profile developments may encourage Turkey’s parliament to seek an abortion ban.

Erdogan called abortion “murder” and told reporters that “whether you kill the baby within the womb of his mother, or kill him after his birth, there’s no difference.” He added that abortion is being used to “to prevent this country’s population from growing further.” Turkey legalized abortion on demand in 1983, and 70,000 abortions were performed last year.

Last week, the United Nations Population Fund hosted an international conference in Istanbul, which focused on accelerating population decline in the Middle East. Turkey’s current fertility rate is narrowly above the 2.1 average children per woman needed to sustain the current population. To counter this trend, Erdogan frequently encourages Turkish families to have at least three children.

A representative from Personhood USA’s international outreach delivered a presentation at Bilkent University to coincide with the prime minister’s statement. Bilkent is the top university in the nation and has been called the “Harvard of Turkey.” The presentation focused on the demographic dividend reaped by population growth and the potential danger in Turkey’s declining fertility rates.

“United Nations projections indicate that Turkey will dip well below the replacement rate necessary to maintain its current population,” said Josh Craddock, International Representative for Personhood USA. “In coming decades, this demographic imbalance will create an unsustainable strain on retirement and health programs.”

The Personhood USA talk emphasized the importance of recognizing human persons not just as consumers of scarce resources, but as producers of medicine, technology and information, innovators, helpers of their fellow mankind, and statesmen to lead Turkey into a bright future.