Erdoğan’s push to euthanize street dogs in Istanbul

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s proposal to euthanize stray dogs in Istanbul has sparked outrage among animal rights activists and dog lovers. The government’s plan to capture and shelter four million street dogs, sterilize them, and euthanize those without owners has faced criticism and opposition from both animal welfare activists and veterinarians.

The issue has taken on a cultural and religious dimension, with traditional Islamic beliefs labeling dogs as “unclean” and not fit to live with humans. President Erdogan’s stance on street dogs has been part of a broader culture war, with him accusing dog owners of elitism and aligning dog ownership with a specific demographic group.

The public outcry over the proposed euthanasia law is reminiscent of the tragedy of Hayirsizada in 1910, where thousands of stray dogs were left to starve and turn on each other. President Erdogan’s political opponents, including Istanbul mayor Ekrem Imamoğlu, have expressed support for the stray dogs and have worked to protect them. Protesters have taken to the streets in Istanbul to denounce the impending euthanasia law, with fears of a potential massacre of animals.

By Sophia Gonzalez

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