Babies and Children In Turkey

This blog post is on babies and children in Turkey. As Kingsman Estates, we would like to go deeper into the general situation, rights and problems Turkish children face so our clients who are looking to move to Turkey can understand the situation deeper. Rights and care of babies and children in Turkey are organised by the Ministry of Family, Labour And Social Services in Turkey. 

Turkey has been part of the Convention on the Rights of a Child since 1994. Furthermore, in the efforts of Turkey to join the EU, both legal and administrative changes were implemented according to the Copenhagen political criteria of joining the EU. Improving the rights for babies and children in Turkey is an ongoing effort and it will continue to improve in the coming years as it has been over the last decade. 

Turkish population has a rich human resource with most of the population below the age of 30. When compared to European countries it is inevitable to realize that the Turkish economy is incredibly dynamic due to the young age of the general population. Although the overall level of rights and access to free education is in a decent standard in Turkey, not all children have an equal level of opportunity and poverty in some parts of Turkey are a serious problem that affects babies in children in Turkey. 

Rights Of Babies And Children In Turkey

Right To Health

Health care for babies and children in Turkey is organised by the Ministry of Health in Turkey. Turkey has social security which allows access to free health care in state hospitals for individuals who are contributing to the economy or paying the monthly premiums for the social security services. Infant mortality is fairly low in Turkey with only 9 babies losing their life during birth in every 1000 births. Although there are differences in the standards of health services in different regions, the level of mortality rate is in acceptable standards. 

The number of mothers who have received prenatal care and gave birth in health facilities has reached a fantastic level of %99.7 and %98 respectively. These values are inspiring as the numbers in the previous years were much worse and loads of mothers used to give birth in their own homes and received alternative “care” from the woman in their neighbourhoods which resulted in higher mortality rates for babies and young children. Furthermore, the Turkish government provides free vaccinations and free childbirth which is a massive benefit for incentivising mothers to get care in hospitals as well as limiting illnesses and diseases. 

Right To Education

Over the last ten years, education in Turkey has been improving with large sums of money injected into all levels of educational institutions. Education is organised by the Ministry Of Education in Turkey.  Education for children from the age 6 to 18 is mandatory in Turkey and it is free of charge. Parents who do not send their children to education for 12 years are prosecuted and in some instances taken away from their parents. Although there are some differences in the standards in different regions of Turkey, big cities and coastal towns have decent standards. Turkey devotes around 13 per cent of the GDP to education institutions around the country. 

98 per cent of the children in Turkey do enrol in primary schools than to be followed by middle school and high school in Turkey. Unfortunately in some provinces in the eastern part of Turkey, some families are reluctant to send their daughters to schools due to traditional patriarchal values that are still within some parts of Turkish society. 

Right To Identity And Nationality

Since more than %98 of the children are born in health facilities in Turkey, they get immediate recognition by the government registered by the civil servants as a citizen of the Republic of Turkey. Birth registration is a fundamental right as it provides the child with a name, parentage, nationality, and age. It also represents proof of identity, a sign of existence in the eyes of society, granting them automatic protection from the government against trafficking and forced labour.

Risks That Babies And Children In Turkey Face

As in most countries around the world babies and children in Turkey face a variety of issues and risks that jeopardize their well being and safety. 

Poverty

Fortunately, absolute poverty is almost a non-existent concept in Turkey. However, plenty of children mostly in the eastern parts of Turkey do face relative poverty. Around %13 of the population in Turkey earn less than %50 of the median income that the general population in Turkey is earning. This can create risks for children in terms of getting a good education and health care even though it’s free in Turkey. Families can be hesitant to send children to schools as they will not be earning for the family for a long time as well as extra costs that occur with education such as transport and having to eat outside home during school hours. Another risk that occurs from poverty is child labour and early marriages forced upon children to either bring money to home or reduce the spending within the household respectively. 

Gender Inequality And Child Marriages

Although Turkish laws are fairly standard and parallel to the ones in Europe regarding the equality of women, unfortunately, the patriarchal traditional values that put certain roles on women still exist in Turkey among the conservative population living in the eastern parts of Turkey. Most people living in big cities like Istanbul, Antalya and coastal towns live a liberal western lifestyle in Turkey. However, inequality between man and woman can be observed mostly in employment as only %30 of the employment consists of women in Turkey. There are also problems women face as it is sometimes expected for women to help with the jobs within the household resulting in them not being able to spend enough time to study and socialise in society. 

Child Abuse

Unfortunately child abuse can be a problem in Turkey. The legal age of sexual concent is 15 however in places struck by poverty, exploitation and child abuse can be problem especially in the really conservative and traditional places within Turkey where it may sometimes be really hard to speak up against these issues due to social pressures. 

Child Labour

Since the initiation of the International Work Organisation programme, child labour in Turkey has been massively improved Turkey. At the moment estimates show that around %1 of the children in Turkey are working. The legal age of work is 15 in Turkey. Improvements on these issues are constantly made and employers who are allowing children to work are punished heavily. 

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