Tan said the allegations are “unfortunate and unfair.” In a letter to the newspaper, he also said as a proud husband and father, he was shocked to read an op-ed that maligned Erdoğan and used an unjustified attack on his beloved daughter to grossly mischaracterize the role of women in Turkey.
In the March 27 article, columnist Marybeth Hicks cited the March 25 meeting between Obama and Erdoğan, where Obama hailed his friendship with Erdoğan and said they find each other in frequent agreement upon a wide range of issues because Erdoğan also has two daughters. He stated that his daughters are a “little older than mine” and “they've turned out very well, so I'm always interested in his perspective on raising girls.”
The author said Erdoğan's daughter, Sümeyye, has been the focus of media attention and graduated from schools in the West. She then attacked Islam and accused it of being the religion that hampers the rights of females the most and of being more restrictive of their basic liberties.
“Because unfortunately, while Mr. Erdoğan seems to allow his extremely bright and privileged daughters to take advantage of the opportunities available to them, most Muslim daughters are forced to accept their status as second-class citizens,” the author alleged.
Tan said contrary to the descriptions contained in that piece, women such as his wife and daughter receive equal treatment under the law in Turkey. “They, along with millions of proud Turkish women, are not second-class citizens,” Tan claimed.
He added that as one of the largest Muslim-majority democracies, Turkey serves as a role model for others in the region who seek to promote equality and tolerance. He recalled a conference the Turkish government hosted, the International Convention on Gender Equality, in Ankara recently.
Tan accused the writer of trying to score political points at the expense of the prime minister's daughter -- a private citizen who happens to be related to a government official -- and said the author could have focused on how Turkey has managed to seamlessly integrate such a broad spectrum of political and religious perspectives in its society.
He said the piece could have described some of the international accords Turkey has signed or the legislation it has adopted to prevent gender-based violence. Instead, he underlined, it attacks individuals like our prime minister's daughter and mischaracterizes the chosen religion of the men and women of Turkey. “That's unfortunate and unfair,” the ambassador concluded.