Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Photograph by Turkish Presidential Press Service — AP
By Tara John and TIME
March 9, 2016

During a speech marking International Women’s Day, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he believes “above all else” women are mothers.

“I know there will be some who will be annoyed, but for me a woman is above all a mother,” Erdogan told an audience of women in Ankara, reports AFP. He also urged the audience to “protect the family” and blamed the capitalist system for “enslaving” women for profits.

“You cannot free women by destroying the notion of family,” said Erdogan.

Erdogan’s views on women have long been criticized by rights advocates. The Turkish president has previously said that women are not equal to men, called the promotion of birth control “treason,” urged Turkish women to have at least three children, and proposed limits to abortion rights and Caesarean sections.

This article originally appeared on Time.com.

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