UPDATE – Erdogan praises Turkey's efforts for disabled people


By Hulya Corakci Ertan

ISTANBUL (AA) – Turkish president on Monday said his country took “revolutionary steps” over the last 16 years for the disabled population to increase their participation in the society.

“Today, 513,000 disabled individuals benefit from home care services in Turkey,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at the opening ceremony of a special needs school serving children with mental and physical disabilities in Istanbul.

“At 97 rehabilitation and care centers throughout the country, 7,000 disabled people are being looked after,” said Erdogan.

Erdogan said the number of disabled people being looked after at private care centers has reached 16,000.

He added a salary of around 650 Turkish liras ($119) is being paid on monthly basis to people with disabilities to support them.

On Turkey’s 2023 vision, which marks the centenary of the Republic of Turkey, Erdogan said: “All kinds of plots were set up to distract us from these goals.

“Despite all, we have never given up our determination to walk towards our goals,” he added.

Turkey's 2023 Vision sets specific targets for improvements in the areas of economic activity, energy, healthcare, education, and transport.

“We see [Turkey’s] 2053 and 2071 visions, which we will build on [the basis of 2023] goals, as the greatest legacy that we will leave for our children,” Erdogan added.

Erdogan was referring to 2053 that will mark the 600th anniversary of Istanbul’s conquest and 2071 that marks the 1,000th anniversary of Malazgirt Battle.

The Battle of Malazgirt, also known as Battle of Manzikert, of Aug. 26, 1071, saw Seljuk Turks led by Sultan Alparslan defeat a Byzantine army and open up Anatolia for Turkish domination.

“The strong bond between our nation and state is our most important source of hope that allows us to look at our future with confidence,” he added.

The president said that Turkey has grown three-fold over the past 16 years. “We will be able to reach our 2023 goals when we grow two-fold in the coming period,” he added.

“Then we will all go to a different level, a different league,” Erdogan said, adding the “new Turkey” will open the doors of a new term for itself and for the region.