An Analysis of the Rehabilitation Policies in Turkey From the Perspectives of Disability Rights Activists
Access to rehabilitation services for people with disabilities is considered as a human rights issue in the Convention on the Rights of Person with Disabilities (CRPD). Along with the ratification of CRPD and implementation of the 2005 Turkish Law on Disability, Turkey experienced a modest welfare expansion especially in services and social transfers to people with disabilities. In this context, the thesis examines the perspectives of disability rights activists on the contemporary rehabilitation policies while situating their perspectives in a historical trajectory of change in rehabilitation policies in Turkey. The thesis draws on two types of data: documents and in-depth interviews. First, documents analysed in this thesis include media reflections of debates around rehabilitation policies, relevant legislations, policy documents and available data on rehabilitation services. Second, eight interviews were conducted with disability rights activists from six NGOs in İstanbul, İzmir and Bursa between January and March 2019. Both documentary analysis and thematic analysis of interviews demonstrate that rehabilitation services in Turkey still considerably diverge from a human rights approach to disability. The thesis identifies the following four obstacles against the full adoption of a human rights approach to disability in Turkish rehabilitation policies: 1) the domination of medical model of disability in rehabilitation services in Turkey, 2) inadequacy of rehabilitation services in meeting the need, 3) insufficiency of social security coverage, and 4) inefficacy of rehabilitation services in taking individual differences among beneficiaries into account that limits its potential.