Clean-shaven men sometimes cannot be distinguished from women and could cause indecent thoughts in men according to a Turkish islamic preacher reported Hurriyet Daily news.
“Men should grow beards. One of the two body parts that separate men from women is the beard," said preacher Murat Bayaral during a talk on private religious station Fatih Medreseleri (Madrasahs) TV.
"For example, if you see a man with long hair from afar you may think he is a woman if he does not have a beard. Because nowadays women and men dress similarly. God forbid! You could be possessed by indecent thoughts,” he added.
This type of world view might not come as such a surprise for many given it finds fertile ground in President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's Turkey who after all has claimed he wants to create a "pious" generation. His own policy making, both domestic and international is heavily influenced and informed by his religious perspective.
Although the comments were made in 2017, the story has re-surfaced ahead in various media outlets, ahead of Turkey's tens talks with NATO and the European Union as the Turkish President takes his country down a religious fundamentalist path with greater autocracy.
The political establishment's view of women is reflected in the extraordinary move by Turkey in March 2021, when it announced that it was pulling out of the Istanbul Convention, a European treaty to combat violence against women.
Europe and the United States have been critical of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's authoritarian style of governance and increasing disregard for judicial independence and civil rights, with the European Council issuing a stern statement yesterday warning Turkey to respect the sovereignty of Greece and Cyprus and tone down the aggressive rhetoric.
Meanwhile Turkey's attempt to mend the rift with Saudi Arabia in hope of a windfall of cash from the oil rich country failed miserably during Wednesday's visit by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Ankara on Wednesday.
Erdoğan's talks with the Crown Prince failed to secure capital from Saudi Arabia to help defend the troubled lira and help him get re-elected next year.