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“Active Citizenship is Our Right: “

“Towards Turkish Assembly of Persons with Disabilities”

Main Goal : The overall objective of the project is to contribute for networking of the disability organizations in Turkey and improving their advocacy capacity.

With this project, 54 Local Disability Councils are established.

737 disability organizations in 54 cities were reached; they are involved in the LDCs. Independent civil society organizations and their branches, foundations, sports clubs (disability sport clubs have legal status like associations), cooperatives and umbrella organizations. With the participation of 37 civil society organizations (bar associations and unions) who has disability units, the total number of NGOs in the LDCs reaches to 774.

This is a national network with 737 disability organizations.
3 confederations an 19 federations are represented at the LDCs.

The Turkish Association of the Handicaped provides the highest participation to the LDCs with its 38 branches. Six Dots Association of the Blind follows with its 28 branches.

Turkey White Moon Association provides 15 branches’ participation to the LDCs.

87 of the member disability organizations are located in districts (which is “ilçe” in Turkish). 

Some disability organizations operating across the country open branches in districts as well as in provinces. In addition, persons with disabilities and their relatives in the districts can organize their own organizations and establish independent local organizations . More than 11 percent of the disabled organizations that make up the LDCs are located in the districts, not in the city centers, and many of them have been in the LDCs since the establishment phase.

In 54 LDCs, 4 of the disability organizations’ legal entity is ‘cooperative’, 11 of them have ‘foundation’ status.

In 54 LDCs, 4 of the disability organizations’ legal entity is ‘cooperative’, 11 of them have ‘foundation’ status.

There are 189 executive board members (heads and delegates) of 54 LDCs; 75 of them are female. 15 LDC presidents are female.

At each LDC 1 person is selected as the “president (head) of the LDC” and at least 1 person is selected as “Ankara represantative (delegate for the Turkish Disability Assembly) of the LDC”. In some cities more than 1 delegates are selected  because the delegate number depends on the city’s population.

Although many female activists take part in Turkey’s disability movement, most of the associations are headed by men. 28 percent of the presindents in 54 Local Disability Councils are female; this is under the critical point which is 33 percent. Women with disabilities have difficulties in taking role at decision making positions because of the male-dominated environment in disability organizations.

Only 4 association focus on women with disabilities : 

Bursa Association of Women with Disabilities, Samsun Association of Women with Disabilities, İzmir Association of Supporting Youth and Women, Ankara Solidarity Association of Deaf Women.

17 metropolitan municipalities (“büyükşehir belediyesi”) and 38 city and district municipalities (“belediye”) participated at the LDCs’ establishment meetings.

Metropolitan Municipalities:

Adana, Aydın, Balıkesir, Bursa, Diyarbakır, Eskişehir, Hatay, İzmir, Kahramanmaraş, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Muğla, Ordu, Sakarya, Samsun, Trabzon and Ankara Metropolitan Municipalities.

Other municipalities:

Afyonkarahisar, Ankara/Kahramankazan, Ankara/Mamak, Ankara/Polatlı, Ankara/Pursaklar, Ankara/Yenimahalle, Artvin/Ardanuç, Balıkesir/Karesi, Bursa/Nilüfer, Bursa/Osmangazi, Bursa/Yıldırım, Çorum, Eskişehir/Odunpazarı, Eskişehir/Tepebaşı, Giresun, Isparta, İstanbul/Kadıköy, İstanbul/Şişli, İstanbul/Üsküdar, İzmir/Buca, İzmir/Konak, Kars, Kayseri/Melikgazi, Kocaeli/İzmit, Kocaeli/Körfez, Manisa, Muğla/Menteşe, Nevşehir, Niğde, Ordu/Altınordu, Ordu/Ünye, Osmaniye/Kadirli, Sakarya/Serdivan, Sinop, Tekirdağ/Süleymanpaşa, Trabzon/Ortahisar, Tunceli and Uşak Municipalities.

There are 51 universities’ Disability Units among the LDC members.

Among the 54 LDCs, most of the organizations operating in the field of children with disabilities focus on mental disability;

Cerebral Palsy Children Association, Sinop Spastic Children Association, Tekirdağ Protecting Autistic Children  Association, Mentally Disabled Children Foundation etc. Associations that develop expertise in other fields such as the SSPE Child Diseases Association and the Bionic-Ear Children Association also take part in theLDCs.

Only 4 association focus on women with disabilities: Bursa Association of Women with Disabilities, Samsun Association of Women with Disabilities, İzmir Association of Supporting Youth and Women, Ankara Solidarity Association of Deaf Women.

Almost all of the 50 organizations with a youth emphasis in their name are sports clubs with disabilities. 

Only three associations are working to target young people with disabilities: Edirne Youth and Disabled Support Association; Van Hearing Impaired Education Youth and Culture Sports Association; Samsun Education, Youth and Disabilities Sports Association.

Studies for the elderly with disabilities are not common in disability movement in Turkey. In LDCs, there are only five organizations with an emphasis on elderly in its name: Antalya Elver Disabled and Elderly Social Assistance Association, Disabled Elderly and Orphans Karamürsel Association, Schizophrenic All Disabled Elderly Orphans Association, Martyr Gazi Disabled Elderly Communication Association and International All Disabled Persons Elderly Orphans Federation.

A diverse participation in 54 LDCs:

In 54 LDCs; 32 organizations on autism, 65 associations and sports clubs on hearing impairment, 55 organizations on blind, 20 organizations on down syndrom, 10 organizations on celiac, 6 organizations on thalassemia, 9 organizations on cerebral palsy. Other disabilities are also represented in the LDCs.

Of 54 LDC presidents, 19 have no disabilities but are parents and/or relatives of persons with disabilities.

Distribution of disabilities of the LDC presidents: 1 hearing impaired, 25 orthopedically handicaped, 8 blind or partially sighted and 1 with orphan diases.

Non-governmental organizations that do not have a direct disability agenda, but also take this issue a part of their work, and operate in areas such as consumer problems, women’s rights, children’s rights, Roma rights and the fight against mobbing, also take part in the LDCs.

10 unions have representatives in LDCs:

Health Services Union, Civil Servants Union, Financial Consultants Union, Disabled Education Employees Union, Faculty Members Union, Union of Health Workers with Disabilities, Union of Educators, Health and Social Workers Union, United Civil Servants Union, Education and Science Workers Union.

In 13 LDCs Bar Associations are involved.

Artvin, Diyarbakır, Hatay, Karabük, Kocaeli, Muğla, Nevşehir, Ordu, Sakarya, Samsun, Sinop, Şanlıurfa and Ankara Bars.

In 54 LDCs which will come together to establish the Turkey Assembly of Persons with Disabilities have a diverse list of disabilities:

  • Persons with; autism, down syndrom, celiac, cancer, albinism, polio, diabets, cochlear implant, spina bifida, thalassemia, dyslexia, cranio-maxillofacial, cystinosis, leucemia, hemophilia, achondroplasia, phenylketonuria, rheumatism, epilepsy, schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder, kidney diseases, bowel diseases, spinal muscular atrophy, friedreich’s ataxia, cerebral palsy, subakut sklerozan panensefalit, mukopolisakkaridoz, multiple skleroz, pulmonary hypertension and hearing impaired;
  • Persons who use wheelchair and crutch;
  • Persons who are stammer, blind, partially sighted.