An interview with Şafak Pavey, newly elected CHP member of parliament representing Istanbul. Pavey, former head of the Secretariat for the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) at the United Nations Human Rights Office, is herself handicapped (see here). Click here for the full article.
It gives Şafak Pavey goosebumps to talk about it: the thousands of disabled children in Turkey who live hidden from view, out of sight of neighbors, of guests, of the community.
“When I visit very poor houses in areas in Istanbul, or the Black sea or Izmir,” said Pavey, 34, a newly-elected member of Turkey’s parliament from the country’s main opposition party, who lost her left arm and leg in a train accident, “in every other house, there is a disabled kid hidden in the back garden. If I stay for long enough, for an hour or two, they come out.”
According to a 2002 government study, an estimated 8.5 million disabled people live in Turkey, at the time nearly 13 percent of the population, which has since grown to 79 million people. But walking around a major city like Istanbul, one would never know. The disabled are kept sequestered at home, a source of shame for the family. And how could someone with physical challenges navigate such a city anyway, with its steep hills, busted-up sidewalks and crowded, cobblestone streets?…