A woman holding a Turkish national flag listens at Turkish President during a rally to mark the 563rd anniversary of the conquest of Istanbul by Ottoman Turks on May 29, 2016 in Istanbul. OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called women who deny motherhood “deficient” and “incomplete”. In a speech Sunday, he added that a woman who picks her professional life over motherhood was hindering her femininity.

“A women who rejects motherhood, who refrains from being around the house, however successful her working life is, is deficient, is incomplete,” Erdoğan said, speaking at Turkey’s Women’s and Democracy Association (KADEM) in Istanbul.

This statement adds to a series of comments that Erdoğan has made on the role of women in Turkish society. Many of these comments are seen as being aimed at boosting Turkey’s population which the Guardian reports has grown exponentially in the recent past.

Turkey’s population rose at a rate of around 1.3 percent last year, according to the statistics office. The population in 2000 was less than 68 million; it is now 78.741 million.

But Erdoğan encouraged more growth, saying: “I would recommend having at least three children”. He added that strong families lead to strong nations.

Earlier, in a televised speech on May 30, the President said Muslim families should reject birth control and contraception. According to reports, in 2014, when Erdoğan was Prime Minister, he called contraception “treason”.

The 62-year-old leader is the father of four children. His youngest daughter is the deputy chairman of KADEM. His government has frequently irked feminists and women activists with its controversial remarks but the ruling Justice and Development Party, which was co-founded by Erdoğan, denied allegations of sexism, saying the government has done much more for women than previous governments.

Turkey’s current cabinet, under newly appointed Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, has just one female minister who heads the family ministry.