Pavey: The disabled rights movement must unite!

© M.D.

Şafak Pavey, Deputy of Istanbul Province for the Republican People's Party, has given an interview to Audiology News Turkey. In it, she discusses the problems experienced by Turkey’s disabled population and puts forward some proposals to improve their lives. Șafak Pavey is a very respected public figure in Turkey and disabled herself.

As a young student, she lost her left arm and left leg in a train accident in Zurich. The manner in which she overcame her disability was the subject of a doctoral thesis at the University of Zurich. After serving twelve years at the High Commission of Human Rights at the United Nations, she was elected Istanbul’s Deputy during the June 2011 legislative elections. In March 2012, she was awarded an “International Women of Courage Award” by Michelle Obama and Hilary Clinton.

Șafak Pavey says that while the official legislation relating to disability in Turkey is not too bad in comparison with that of other European countries, disabled people suffer from a kind of “cultural block” in Turkish society and need to make their voices heard. Though there are some 300,000 associations for the disabled in Turkey, politically and socially, these people remain more or less unheard.

Șafak Pavey suggests in Audiology Infos Turkey that these disparate associations should unite under the same organisation to give disabled people a political voice in Turkey, and so Turkish society becomes more inclusive and understanding of disabilities.