Turkey presents action plan to improve the lives of people with disabilities
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday announced Turkey’s “Barrier-Free Vision 2030”, a comprehensive document including an action plan for people with disabilities. At an event in Istanbul on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the president pledged better opportunities for citizens with disabilities in all areas.
The Vision document, led by the Ministry of Family and Social Policies in cooperation with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), revealed 107 different actions, focused on accessibility. The president, who presented the plan ahead of a separate event for the assignment of teachers with disabilities, said it would serve as a guideline for their work until 2030 and that in addition to existing needs, the vision was designed based on ideas derived from international experience on the issue. and effective practices to improve the lives of people with disabilities.
“We value accessibility for our brothers and sisters with disabilities. Our plan will strengthen their inclusion in everyday life, from cultural events to sporting activities. It will expand accessibility options to everything from housing to transportation and communication services. We will remove all obstacles for people with disabilities who aspire to join politics, ”Erdoğan said.
The plan also addresses the exploitation, abuse, torture and ill-treatment faced by people with disabilities. The president said they would introduce measures for effective protection against such acts and early intervention, as well as legal protection against discrimination against people with disabilities, who will be treated equally under the laws. .
The president also promised the introduction of new health services for people with disabilities, including new therapy services to address their health problems and better assistance for the care of people with disabilities at home by their families. He said people with disabilities would also have more access to risk reduction practices, referring to protective measures against disasters, from earthquakes to floods.
In education, the plan will review options for children with learning disabilities. Erdoğan said children with disabilities would have equal access to all levels of education with their peers and would benefit from a better monitoring process for improving their education. For adults with disabilities, more lifelong learning courses would be introduced. “We will also develop new employment models and our disabled citizens will have access to the jobs they dreamed of, the most skilled jobs. We will also provide more (financial) support to entrepreneurs with disabilities, and they will enjoy economic benefits, regulations and income increases. We provide economic security for citizens with disabilities by building a sustainable financial system for them, ”he said.
Accessibility in transit
Also on Friday, the government unveiled the “Accessible Transport Strategy and Action Plan” at an event in Istanbul. This new package of policies and concrete measures aims to make life easier for people with disabilities. Speaking at the event, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Adil Karaismailoğlu said their goal is to provide integrated and accessible travel to citizens with disabilities without disruption of all modes of transport. It covers all aspects of transport, from access and terminals to stations and the purchase of tickets as well as the organization of inter-city trips. In addition to people with disabilities, the plan will also target older people with reduced mobility.
The plan was announced at Istanbul’s Sirkeci station and provides for a four-year period to implement the necessary measures to address accessibility challenges.
“It is essential to remove the obstacles with which our fellow citizens are confronted, to encourage their inclusion in social life, for the future of our country”, declared the Minister.
The minister also noted that the accessibility rate was high among private buses and buses operated by municipalities, but it was only “14%” among minibuses, a popular means of transport, especially for the streets. secondary. The accessibility rate is highest at metro stations in the country and lowest at ferry terminals.
The plan, drafted after extensive discussions and workshops, includes strategic objectives, including awareness raising, the accessibility challenges faced by people with disabilities, strengthening administrative measures, inspections, regulation of accessibility services and a better integration of trips on the different modes of transport so that people with disabilities can switch between them easily.
The ministry has also developed a smartphone app for accessibility that will help people with disabilities complete tasks such as travel planning, purchasing tickets, live assistance and finding assistance on site. Currently, people with disabilities are already benefiting from several options provided by the government, Karaismailoğlu said, highlighting the examples of handing over salaries to people with disabilities unable to go to ATMs to withdraw money and the accessible version of turkiye. gov.tr, an e-governance portal.