Opposition leader refers to Erdoğan as 'Ms Emine's spouse' after president's misogynist remarks

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has once again drawn severe condemnation when he referred to renowned scientist Dr. Özlem Türeci as “Mr. Uğur's spouse.” Slamming Erdoğan over his blatant sexism, opposition DEVA leader Ali Babacan addressed Erdoğan as “Ms. Emine's spouse” in a tweet.

From left to right: President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, First Lady Emine Erdoğan, Dr. Uğur Şahin, Dr. Özlem Türeci.

Duvar English

Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) leader Ali Babacan has slammed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over his misogynist remarks, after the latter referred to Germany-based scientist Dr. Özlem Türeci as “Mr. Uğur's spouse.”

Türeci co-founded the German company BioNTech with her husband Dr. Uğur Şahin and developed the first approved corona vaccine.

Sharing Erdoğan's remarks in a tweet, Babacan wrote: “Ms. Emine's spouse spoke.”

Speaking to reporters in the southeastern province of Diyarakır on July 9, Erdoğan omitted Türeci's name and said: “We have administered more than 58 million vaccination doses...There is a certain supply of vaccines coming from BionTech. And a certain amount of vaccines have come from Sinovac and continues to come. Mr. Uğur and his spouse will be our guests soon.”

Erdoğan's comments drew severe condemnation on social media, with people pointing out that the president's discourse is a blatant example of his misogyny.

“For Erdoğan and this mentality, women do not have a name, but can be described as someone's spouse. I would say that you start the Women Action Plan in your heads first,” main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) MP Gamze Taşıçıer wrote on Twitter.

İYİ (Good) Party similarly slammed Erdoğan saying these remarks summarize his “known mentality.”

Turkish entrepreneur Can Gürses said referring to a woman as “someone's spouse is the last message to be given to girls in this country.” “This is exactly what has made Merve Akpınar cry for wanting to play handball,” said Gürses, in reference to teen handball player Akpınar who recently recalled being ostracized by the community at the beginning of her career.

“This 'Mr. Uğur and his spouse' is such a typical example. Even if you develop the vaccine that is healing the world, you are still firstly a man's 'spouse' in the masculine mindset,” journalist Melis Alphan wrote.

“Women are not spouses or members of a family, but equal individuals in a society. You will accept that women are equal and free; we will take our rights,” said Women Councils (Kadın Meclisleri) on Twitter.