Nazire Diker, Asuman Türkün



This paper aims to question the living conditions of disabled people in the 21st century from  the framework of social justice. The concept of “social justice” has a long history, influenced  by the works of numerous writers including Rawls (1971), Miller (1999), Reeves (2005), Fainstein (2009), Marcuse (2009) and Harvey (1992, 2009) and by the recent debates on  inequality, diversity, segregation, exclusion, and discrimination. The debates on segregation, exclusion and discrimination are generally focused on inequalities in terms of economic,  ethnic and gender dimensions; however, in these debates, there is very little reference to unequal opportunities of disabled people. On the other hand, the diversity issue is generally discussed with respect to ethnic and cultural elements, again with very little concern for the  rights of disabled people. In many developing countries, including Turkey, a legal framework  for addressing disability issues has started to be put in place. Awareness among governments and society of the needs and rights of people with disabilities is growing. In the  last decade in Turkey, the difficulties faced by disabled people have started to be taken into  consideration seriously. Before that, the only information about the disabled population could  be obtained from General Population Census in Turkey. In 2002 “Turkey Disability Survey” was carried out collectively by the State Institute of Statistics and the Presidency of  Administration on Disabled People. In this survey, it has been targeted to estimate the number of disabled people and comprehend their socio-economic characteristics, their  problems in social life, expectations, types and causes of disability, regional differences and also the proportion of population having chronic illnesses. After this survey, many projects  have started to be realized in order to propose strategies for eliminating discrimination in  Turkey. In this paper, we will try to evaluate these sources of information so as to analyze  the conditions of disaled people in Turkey with reference to the situation in other developed  and developing countries. This evaluation will be made from the framework of social justice  and with respect to particular rights, such as accessibility to necessary services at different scales, accessibility to job opportunities and integration into the work force as well as their  participation in decision making mechanisms of local and central governments together with or within NGO’s.


Disability; social justice; accessibility; discrimination

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