Turkey

   

Social Policies

#30
Key Findings
With the pressure of refugee care stressing social budgets, Turkey scores relatively poorly (rank 30) with regard to social policies. Its score on this measure has improved by 0.9 points relative to 2014.

The country has made significant progress in increasing access to education. Pre-primary enrollments rates are quite low, but primary enrollments are now above 91%. PISA scores are rising, but remain low in international comparison. Income inequality is very substantial, but poverty rates are falling. An integrated social assistance system is geared toward helping welfare recipients out of poverty.

Near-universal health-insurance coverage was achieved in 2014, but cost pressures are growing. The employment rate among women is very low. The government’s conservative family-affairs stance has provoked ongoing debate on gender equality. Sexual assault is a serious problem.

Pension spending is modest, with more than half financed through budget transfers. The Syrian civil war has driven more than 3.6 million refugees to Turkey, and created massive financial burdens. The refugee population has been the object of increasing public resentment. Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria was ostensibly to create “safe zones” for resettlement, but this has been widely criticized internationally.

Education

#40

To what extent does education policy deliver high-quality, equitable and efficient education and training?

10
 9

Education policy fully achieves the criteria.
 8
 7
 6


Education policy largely achieves the criteria.
 5
 4
 3


Education policy partially achieves the criteria.
 2
 1

Education policy does not achieve the criteria at all.
Education Policy
4
In Turkey, children typically attend pre-primary education starting at age three, and the programs last between one and three years. Compulsory education begins at age five/six and ends at age 17. Turkey has made significant progress in increasing access to education. In the 2018 – 2019 school year, although the pre-primary education enrollment rate, according to Ministry of Education, was quite low at 39.1%, Turkey achieved almost universal primary-school enrollment (91.9%). Lower secondary-school enrollment was 93.3% and upper secondary-school enrollment was 84.2% during the same period. The government is actively seeking to expand secondary-school enrollment to comply with the new “4+4+4” law on education. Vocational education and training (VET) programs are available to students who leave the education system after primary school. The standard length of VET programs is four years, with most of the four years spent in workplaces. Finally, the percentage of the population aged 25 – 34 with a tertiary level qualification was 44.1% in 2018 – 2019.

The gender-based enrollment gap has nearly disappeared for primary education and has narrowed significantly for secondary education. The Gender Gap Report 2018 emphasized that 93.6% of women and 98.8% of men are literate, the enrollment rate in primary education is 93.9% for women and 94.7% for men, the enrollment rate in secondary education is 85% for women and 86% for men, and the enrollment rate in tertiary education is 96.5% for women and 110.7% for men. Furthermore, pre-primary education and higher education enrollment rates are increasing rapidly. However, according to Gender Gap Report, Turkey ranked only 106 out of 149 countries for educational attainment.

Based on PISA 2019 results, Turkey showed some improvements compared to previous years, and thus signs of effective policymaking and implementation. However, Turkey still ranks at the bottom of the table, suggesting serious issues with the overall quality of education.
- Turkey recorded a 10-point improvement in reading, eight-point improvement in mathematics and 15-point improvement in science scores in 2018 compared to 2015. Turkey recorded the highest increase in mathematics and science scores between 2015 and 2018 out of the 36 OECD countries.
- Only 3% of Turkish students aged 15 have a high level of reading skills; 63% of Turkish students have attained a secondary education in mathematics (compared to an OECD average of 76%).

Despite announcements on the issue, the government continued to refrain from strengthening universities’ autonomy, which had deteriorated after the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016. The aftermath of the failed coup attempt had a severe impact on academic freedoms. During this period, according to the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, a large number of academics were dismissed through appended lists in emergency decrees, without any due process or judicial remedy.

Citations:
Commissioner for Human Rights (2017) ‘Human Rights in Turkey – The Urgent Need for a New Beginning’,’ Council of Europe (March 10 2017).

Hurriyet Daily News, “Significant improvement in all education fields, but Turkey still below OECD average, PISA results show,” 4 December 2019, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/students-improve-scores-in-global-academic-test-in-turkey-149426

Ministry of National Education (2019) National Education Statistics, Ankara.

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (2017) ‘PISA 2015 Key Findings for Turkey,’ Paris: OECD.

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (2018) ‘Turkey’ in Education at a Glance 2018, OECD Indicators, OECD Publishing, Paris: OECD.

World Economic Forum, Global Gender Gap Report 2018, Geneva.

Social Inclusion

#39

To what extent does social policy prevent exclusion and decoupling from society?

10
 9

Policies very effectively enable societal inclusion and ensure equal opportunities.
 8
 7
 6


For the most part, policies enable societal inclusion effectively and ensure equal opportunities.
 5
 4
 3


For the most part, policies fail to prevent societal exclusion effectively and ensure equal opportunities.
 2
 1

Policies exacerbate unequal opportunities and exclusion from society.
Social Inclusion Policy
5
Turkey’s Gini coefficient increased from 38.6 in 2015 to 40.5 in 2017, before dropping slightly to 40.3 in 2018, indicating an increase in income inequality since 2015. Income distribution in Turkey continues to be among the OECD’s most unequal. According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, while the top 20% of earners received 47.6% of income, the bottom 20% of earners received 6.1% of total income. According to the president’s 2020 Annual Program, the poverty rate is 21.2% in Turkey.

According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, the poverty rate fell from 18.6% in 2006 to 13.9% in 2018 largely due to an increase in earnings and employment. However, following the currency crisis of 2018, unemployment has increased. The agriculture and construction sectors have been severely affected by the economic slowdown, and the youth unemployment rate has increased sharply. According to the World Bank (2018), poverty is particularly prevalent among people with lower educational attainment, workers in the informal sector, unpaid family careers and homemakers, and the elderly. Since the currency crisis has affected low income households more than most, the poverty rate must have been adversely influenced. Though any change in the poverty rate has not yet been reflected in official poverty statistics.

The government has developed an integrated social assistance system geared toward helping welfare recipients get out of poverty. Since 2011, responsibility for all central government social assistance benefits has been combined under the Ministry of Family and Social Policies. This ministry has worked to strengthen social inclusion. The government has been implementing an Integrated Social Assistance Information System, using a single proxy means test to target benefits more effectively. As of the end of 2018, about 17 million people had received social assistance. The number of households benefiting from a social assistance program provided by the Social Assistance and Solidarity Foundation increased from 3.1 million in 2017 to 3.4 million in 2018. Links between the social assistance system and active labor market policies implemented by ISKUR are being strengthened. From 2014 onward, the refugee crisis caused by the civil war in Syria has created an extra burden on the government’s efforts to improve the quality of social inclusion. The government has prepared a harmonization strategy document and national action plan for 2018 − 2023, but is yet to publicize it. However, the General Directorate of Migration Administration, in collaboration with UNHCR and other international organizations, organizes workshops in various localities.

Citations:
T.C. Cumhurbaşkanlığı, Strateji ev Bütçe Başkanlığı, 2020 Yılı CumhurbaşkanlığıYıllık Programı, http://www.sbb.gov.tr/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/2020_Yili_Cumhurbaskanligi_Yillik_Programi.pdf (accessed 1 November 2019)

Turkish Statistical Institute, ‘Statistics on Income, Living and Poverty,’ Ankara.

World Bank (2018) ‘Country Partnership Framework for the Republic of Turkey for the Period FY 18 – FY21,’ Report No. 11096-TR, Washington D.C.: The World Bank.

World Bank (2019) ‘Poverty and Equity Brief: Turkey,’ Europe & Central Asia, https://databank.worldbank.org/data/download/poverty/33EF03BB-9722-4AE2-ABC7-AA2972D68AFE/Global_POVEQ_TUR.pdf (accessed 1 November 2019).

Uyum Strateji Belgesi, Cumhuriyet daily news, 6 November 2019, http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/siyaset/1700567/4-milyona-yakin-suriyelinin-kalici-oldugunu-kabullenen-iktidarin-uyum.html (accessed 6 November 2019)

Al-Monitor.com (2019): Turkey joins top tier in human development, UN says, 9 December 2019,
https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/12/turkey-human-development-un-report.html

Health

#27

To what extent do health care policies provide high-quality, inclusive and cost-efficient health care?

10
 9

Health care policy achieves the criteria fully.
 8
 7
 6


Health care policy achieves the criteria largely.
 5
 4
 3


Health care policy achieves the criteria partly.
 2
 1

Health care policy does not achieve the criteria at all.
Health Policy
7
Due to a series of substantial healthcare reforms implemented since 2003, Turkey had achieved near-universal health insurance coverage by 2014, improving equity in access to healthcare nationwide. The scope of the vaccination program has been broadened, the scope of newborn screening and support programs have been extended, community-based mental healthcare services have been created, and cancer screening centers offering free services have been established in many cities.

The key challenge in healthcare is to keep costs under control as demand for healthcare increases, the population ages and new technologies are introduced. Total healthcare expenditure as a share of GDP amounted to 4.5% during 2017. In 2017, public sources funded 78% of total healthcare spending, compared to 62% in 2000.

According to the European Commission (2018), Turkey has a good level of preparation in the area of public health. Though it still needs to increase institutional/administrative capacity, inter-sectoral cooperation, financial resources and appropriate diagnostic facilities to address public health issues at central and provincial level.

Citations:
European Commission (2018) ‘Turkey 2018 Report,’ SWD(2018) 153 final, Brussel.

Ministry of Health (2018) ‘Sağlık İstatistikleri Yıllığı 2017,’ Ankara.



World Health Organization (2018) ‘Turkey: WHO Statistical Profile,’ Geneva.





Families

#41

To what extent do family support policies enable women to combine parenting with participation in the labor market?

10
 9

Family support policies effectively enable women to combine parenting with employment.
 8
 7
 6


Family support policies provide some support for women who want to combine parenting and employment.
 5
 4
 3


Family support policies provide only few opportunities for women who want to combine parenting and employment.
 2
 1

Family support policies force most women to opt for either parenting or employment.
Family Policy
4
In 2018, there were 40.8 million women in Turkey, with 31.5 million women aged 15 and over. In June 2019, the population aged 15 and over included 31.1 million women, but only 9.1 million of these women were employed and 1.7 million women were unemployed. During the same period, the female labor-force participation rate was 34.7%, the female employment rate was 28% and the female unemployment rate was 15.6%. Note that the labor-force participation rate of women in Turkey remains quite low, far below the EU average. In June 2019, 26.8% of the female labor force was employed in agriculture, 15.1% in industry and 58.1% in services. Of these working women, 43.3% were not registered with any social security institution.

According to the World Bank (2018), Turkey has one of the lowest female labor-force participation rates among countries with similar income levels. Women are under-represented in entrepreneurship, and business ownership and management. Furthermore, the gap in financial inclusion between men and women remains comparatively large. There is a wide gap between the employment rates of women and men, and a gender pay gap is observed for all levels of educational attainment.

Several national and local-level initiatives in recent years have ostensibly been aimed at helping women become more employable, helping them find more and higher-quality jobs, and in general helping to remove obstacles to their participation in the workforce. However, there have been many shortcomings in the implementation and proper monitoring of these policies. In general, the government’s conservative stance on women and family affairs (e.g., concerning the number of children, or women’s roles) has provoked ongoing public debate on gender equality in the labor market and public life more generally

Citations:
World Bank (2018) ‘Country Partnership Framework for the Republic of Turkey for the Period FY 18 – FY21,’ Report No. 11096-TR, Washington D.C.: The World Bank.

Pensions

#28

To what extent does pension policy realize goals of poverty prevention, intergenerational equity and fiscal sustainability?

10
 9

Pension policy achieves the objectives fully.
 8
 7
 6


Pension policy achieves the objectives largely.
 5
 4
 3


Pension policy achieves the objectives partly.
 2
 1

Pension policy does not achieve the objectives at all.
Pension Policy
5
In 2001, Turkey’s pension system was reformed with the enactment of Law No. 4632. The law allowed insurance companies to offer individual retirement plans. This transformed the single-component pension system, as emphasized by Peksevim and Akgiray (2019), into a three-component system, which includes one compulsory component, one occupational component and one optional component. While the compulsory component consists of a pay-as-you-go statutory public pension scheme, the voluntary component consists of voluntary individual pension schemes. On the other hand, the occupational component covers mainly the armed forces pension plan (OYAK), pension funds for employees of the state mining coal company, and a relatively small number of small voluntary occupational plans. In June 2012, Law No. 6327 was enacted, stipulating that the state would match 25% of all annual contributions paid by individuals to funded pension schemes starting in January 2013. An upper bound was assigned to the contribution by the state.

In August 2016, Law No. 6740 was enacted. Under the law, all publicly and privately employed wage and salary earners who are less than 45 years of age would be automatically assigned to an individual pension plan and start contributing at a minimum rate of 3% of their taxable earnings, unless they opt out within two months of their automatic enrollment in the plan. After the plan went into effect, 60% of 12 million workers included in the system opted out of the plan, urging the government to take further action.

According to the New Economic Program 2019 – 2021, announced in September 2018, employees are obliged to stay in the individual pension plan for three years before being able to opt out. Thus, for three years the pension plan would be compulsory. In addition, the New Economic Program 2020 – 2022 emphasized that a Complementary Pension System will be established, with the backing of the government’s social partners, and a comprehensive reform package will be introduced. The government has stated that policies to balance the social security system will be implemented while safeguarding social justice.

Pension spending in Turkey is modest, amounting to 7.7% of GDP during 2017. Due to the system’s high dependency ratio and generous eligibility rules, 38% of the country’s pension spending is financed through budget transfers. A 2008 reform adjusted pension parameters. Currently the pension age is 60 years for men and 58 years for women, with at least 7,200 days of contributions. The pension age will gradually rise to 65 for men and to 65 for women, from 2036 to 2044. But these adjustments will be too slow to counter the effects of expanding coverage and an aging population. For this reason, pension-system deficits are expected to remain around 3% of GDP until the middle of the century.

Citations:
Peksevim, S. and V. Akgiray (2019) ’Reforming the Pension System in Turkey: Comparison of Mandatory and Auto-Enrollment Pension Systems in Selected OECD Countries, Paris: OECD

Turkish Statistical Institute, ‘Statistics on Health and Social Protection,’ Ankara.

Integration

#18

How effectively do policies support the integration of migrants into society?

10
 9

Cultural, education and social policies effectively support the integration of migrants into society.
 8
 7
 6


Cultural, education and social policies seek to integrate migrants into society, but have failed to do so effectively.
 5
 4
 3


Cultural, education and social policies do not focus on integrating migrants into society.
 2
 1

Cultural, education and social policies segregate migrant communities from the majority society.
Integration Policy
7
Turkey’s new Law on Foreigners and International Protection took effect in April 2014. On the same date, the General Directorate for Migration Management officially took on responsibility for implementing the law with a view to bringing Turkey in line with European Union and international standards. In October 2014, Turkey adopted the Temporary Protection Regulation, which defines the rights, obligations and procedures for people granted temporary protection in Turkey.

Turkey is increasingly becoming a country of destination for regular migration. At the same time, it also remains a notable transit and destination country for irregular migration. The civil war in Syria which started in 2011 is placing a heavy burden on the Turkish economy. It is estimated that about 3.6 million Syrian refugees, and 365,000 persons of concern from other nationalities (e.g., Iraqi, Afghani and Somali) are in Turkey. Key development needs for the refugees relate to education, housing and employment. Turkey hosts about 4% of Syrian refugees in refugee camps equipped with education, healthcare and social services, while 96% of refugees live in urban, peri-urban and rural areas. The number of people living in refugee camps is about 155,000. Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, it is estimated that Turkey has spent tens of billions in U.S. dollars on healthcare, education, nutrition, social and other services for refugees. Though there is considerable uncertainty about how much money has been spent and on what, as the credibility of official figures and statements has been widely questioned by legal institutions and the opposition.

Resentment among large segments of the Turkish public toward Syrian refugees has increased recently. Syrian refugees are viewed as a burden, and blamed for the deteriorating quality of public service provision, price increases and rising unemployment. Although the Turkish government has emphasized cultural and religious affinities with Syrian refugees, the public perceives a surprisingly large cultural and social distance. Furthermore, in spite of legislation adopted in 2016 to facilitate access to the labor market, only 65,000 work permits have been issued to date. According to Kirişçi and Kolasin (2019), an estimated 500,000 to one million Syrians are working informally in Turkey.

By invading northern Syria in 2018 and 2019, and controlling border territories through proxy forces, Turkey has been working on establishing “safe zones” for resettling Syrian refugees. However, these military interventions have been widely criticized by the international community for breaking international law, and for increasing insecurity and instability in a region where warfare has persisted. According to the Interior Ministry, some 360,000 refugees had returned to Syria from Turkey as of September 2019, although it is unclear whether these refugees returned to their localities of origin. Overall, the feasibility and sustainability of Turkey’s resettlement plans remain to be seen, although doubts remain widespread. Further, the strong notion of resettlement ambitions in political discourses may undermine efforts to integrate migrants and refugees in Turkey.

Citations:
EU Commission: Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council and the Council. Seventh Report on the Progress made in the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement, COM(2017) 470 final, Brussels, 6.9.2017.


Kirisci, K., J. Brandt and M. Erdoğan (2018) ‘Syrian Refugees in Turkey: Beyond the Numbers,’ Brookings, Washington, D.C.

Al-Monitor.com (2019) Mystery surrounds Turkey’s $40 billion refugee bill, 2 November 2 2019, https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/10/turkey-syria-40-billion-refugee-bill-calls-for-explanation.html

Safe Living

#40

How effectively does internal security policy protect citizens against security risks?

10
 9

Internal security policy protects citizens against security risks very effectively.
 8
 7
 6


Internal security policy protects citizens against security risks more or less effectively.
 5
 4
 3


Internal security policy does not effectively protect citizens against security risks.
 2
 1

Internal security policy exacerbates the security risks.
Internal Security Policy
4
The 2019 UNDP Human Development Report ranked Turkey in the top group of countries (i.e., countries with a score above 0.8 score), with Turkey scoring particularly well for life expectancy and standard of living. In a 2018 OECD survey, 59.8% of Turkish respondents stated that they felt safe walking alone at night, slightly lower than the OECD average of 68%. Moreover, while the Global Competitiveness Report identified a decline in the reliability of police services, 75.2% of respondents to the TUIK 2018 Life Satisfaction Survey expressed satisfaction with Turkey’s security services, the highest level of satisfaction reported in the survey. Turkey’s homicide rate is 1.4, lower than the OECD average of 3.7.

On the other hand, according to a report prepared by the oppositional Republican Peoples Party (CHP), 32 sexual assaults per week were perpetrated in 2018. During the last six years, the number of victims of sexual assault has exceeded 7,000, of whom 1,779 were under 18 years old at the time of the assault. The number of women who died from violence rose to 353 in the year to November 2019, and the alleged arbitrary treatment of critics of the government and state authorities has increased since the averted coup attempt of 2016, and the subsequent changes in state institutions and public discourse. Thus, the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index 2019 ranked Turkey only 96 out of 126 countries with a 0.63 score for order and security. The Judicial Records for 2018 indicated that offenses against property and sexual assaults, especially against children, are rising rapidly.

The General Directorate of Security employed over 292,000 personnel, and spent €4.3 billion on public order and security in 2018. The directorate launched a series of projects to tackle domestic violence, improve emergency support services for women, reduce drug use and strengthen IT security, among other things. The Ministry of Interior Affairs also initiated a joint border control project with Bulgaria and Greece. The Turkish National Police (TNP) collaborates extensively with domestic partners and international organizations, such as INTERPOL, EUROPOL, SECI, AGIT, BM, CEPOL and FRONTEX. Moreover, the TNP has introduced an e-government infrastructure in many divisions and initiated several projects intended to bring operations into harmony with the EU acquis communautaire.

The Under-Secretariat of Public Order and Safety was established in 2010, but closed by Decree No. 703 in July 2018. The new Department of Internal Security Strategies was established by a presidential decree in September 2018.

Citations:
OECD Better Life Index Edition 2019, http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/countries/turkey/ (accessed 1 November 2019)

Yaşam Memnuniyeti Araştırması, 2018, http://tuik.gov.tr/PreHaberBultenleri.do?id=30702 (accessed 1 November 2019)

World Justice Project, Rule of Law Index 2019, https://worldjusticeproject.org/sites/default/files/documents/ROLI-2019-Reduced.pdf (accessed 1 November 2019)

Kan donduran rapor açıklandı! Cumhuriyet daily newspaper, 6 July 2019,
http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/turkiye/1474172/kan-donduran-rapor-aciklandi.html (accessed 1 November 2019)

T.C. İçişleri Bakanlığı 2018 Faaliyet Raporu, https://www.icisleri.gov.tr/kurumlar/icisleri.gov.tr/IcSite/strateji/OYA/oooyya/FAAL%C4%B0YET%20RAPORU.pdf (accessed 1 November 2019)

T.C. İçişleri Bakanlığı Emniyet Genel Müdürlüğü 2018 Faaliyet Raporu, https://www.egm.gov.tr//kurumlar/egm.gov.tr/IcSite/strateji/EGM-2018-Faaliyet-Raporu.pdf (accessed 1 November 2019)
General Directorate of Judicial Records and Statistics, Judicial Statistics 2018, http://www.adlisicil.adalet.gov.tr/Resimler/SayfaDokuman/2082019153842istatistik2018.pdf (accessed 1 November 2019)

Şiddetten Ölen Kadınlar İçin Dijital Sayaç, anitsayac.com/ (accessed 1 November 2019)

İç Güvenlik Stratejileri Dairesi Başkanlığının görev ve yetkileri belirlendi, https://www.haberturk.com/ic-guvenlik-stratejileri-dairesi-baskanliginin-gorev-ve-yetkileri-belirlendi-2139811#(accessed 27 October 2018)

Global Inequalities

#3

To what extent does the government demonstrate an active and coherent commitment to promoting equal socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries?

10
 9

The government actively and coherently engages in international efforts to promote equal socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries. It frequently demonstrates initiative and responsibility, and acts as an agenda-setter.
 8
 7
 6


The government actively engages in international efforts to promote equal socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries. However, some of its measures or policies lack coherence.
 5
 4
 3


The government shows limited engagement in international efforts to promote equal socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries. Many of its measures or policies lack coherence.
 2
 1

The government does not contribute (and often undermines) efforts to promote equal socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries.
Global Social Policy
8
During the period under review, Turkey used development assistance to advance social inclusion and development beyond its borders. The government expanded its annual official development assistance disbursements considerably from $967 million in 2010 to $8.1 billion in 2017. Thus, Turkey has become a strong and committed humanitarian assistance partner.

Turkey’s development cooperation is provided in line with the Statutory Decree on the Organization and Duties of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA). Established in 1992, TIKA designs and coordinates Turkey’s bilateral development cooperation activities and implements projects in collaboration with other ministries, NGOs and private sector partners. Since its establishment, TIKA has implemented thousands of projects in more than 150 countries with 61 Program Coordination Offices in 59 countries.

Over the last decade, Turkey’s humanitarian assistance efforts have gained a remarkable impetus and been expanded to many regions across the world. In response to the ongoing Syrian crisis, Turkey has pursued an open-door policy for Syrians fleeing from violence in their country. However, the policy is likely to be changed due to increasing public resentment of Syrian refugees. According to the Interior Ministry, 3,667,000 Syrians were registered as individuals under temporary protection as of September 2019, while some 360,000 refugees had returned to Syria, including to areas controlled by Turkey’s armed forces or proxy forces, and in which Turkey also “invests” into refugee protection.

Citations:
Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (2018) Turkish Development Assistance Report 2017, Ankara: TIKA.

Al-Monitor.com (2019) Mystery surrounds Turkey’s $40 billion refugee bill, 2 November 2 2019, https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/10/turkey-syria-40-billion-refugee-bill-calls-for-explanation.html
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