Fighting disability discrimination

Fighting disability discrimination


About 8.5 million persons with disabilities – some 12% of the total population – live in Turkey. That number includes people with intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities (orthopaedic, hearing or visual impairments), chronic mental illnesses or disorders. Despite a number of laws on the prevention of discrimination in Turkey, many of those who live with disabilities are marginalised as a result of social attitudes, official policies and physical barriers. Removing these obstacles is key to empowering people with disabilities, and giving them the opportunity to exercise their responsibilities as citizens in the home, community and workplace.

The aims of the project and its core activities

This project aimed to define the strategies for combating disability discrimination in Turkey and to contribute to the development of informed and evidence-based policy in this area.

To this end, two basic activities were carried out. First, a field study was conducted, by the Public Administration Institute for Turkey and the Middle East (TODAİE), on the perceptions of people with disability regarding discrimination and the different areas where they encounter it, such as in their jobs and working life, healthcare and education. It also addressed their experiences of political involvement, access to justice, participation in leisure activities, social integration and access to information. Respondents were asked about the methods they use to cope with discrimination as well as about their knowledge regarding legislation and support mechanisms.

The survey, the first and most comprehensive of its kind ever conducted in the country, was followed by a symposium on Fighting Against Disability Discrimination. The event, which was attended by all relevant public institutions and social partners, provided a platform to share the results of the survey, raise awareness about EU policies and legislation, especially the directive on equal treatment in employment and occupation. The symposium assessed the challenges facing people with disabilities in Turkey and discussed ways to solve them.

As a result of the project, materials in a number of accessible formats (text, audio and Braille) were published on the survey and the symposium. In addition, a webpage was created for the project (see