Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Group Deputy Chairwoman Özlem Zengin drew ire on social media for claiming that women get pregnant upon orders from various illegal organizations in the face of criticism on babies growing up in prisons.
"These people are having babies upon orders so that they can say, 'There are pregnant women or women with babies in prisons,'" Zengin said on Feb. 21, just days after insulting women who were subjected to strip searches in prisons.
Prison conditions in Turkey have been under fire from rights groups since human rights abuses have significantly increased under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's AKP rule. In addition to turning a blind eye to these abuses, the government targets the opposition for revealing the unlawful practices in jails, mostly linking them to illegal groups such as the movement of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.
According to Zengin, the aim of those revealing the human rights abuses that women suffer in prisons is to "harm faith, our values and headscarves.
She also said that she doesn't regret saying that "honorable women" wouldn't wait a year to report being strip searched.
"An honorable woman, a woman with morals, wouldn't wait a year [to report a strip search.] This is a fictional narrative," Zengin said on Feb. 19, referring to the reports brought into the public's eye by pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu.
"A criminal report is made right after the incident, imagine a woman is strip searched, if a woman is subjected to this, she would report her discomfort right that minute, she wouldn't wait a year," she added.
Zengin had previously said that Gergerlioğlu was terrorizing the parliament with his reports of the strip searches right after categorically denying the existence of the practice in Turkey.
Shortly after Zengin's remarks, hundreds of people recalled being strip searched, including world-renowned folk singer Selda Bağcan.
Probe launched into social media user's sexist remarks
On Feb. 22, meanwhile, an investigation was launched into a social media user for insulting Zengin on Twitter.
The sexist remarks by Mert Yaşar against Zengin were immediately slammed by AKP spokesperson Ömer Çelik and Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun, who said that those who insult the group deputy chairwoman will be held accountable in court.