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Six Dots Foundation For the Blinds Project

PREFACE

DISABILITY RIGHTS IN THE EUROPEAN UNION AND HARMONIZATION PROCESS IN TURKEY

DISABILITY LAW AND SITUATION OF VISUALLY IMPAIRED IN TURKEY

Basic Individual Rights

   - 1. Service Obligations of Public Institutions

   - 2. Regulations regarding Accessibility

   - 3. Tax Exemptions

   - 4. Legal and Criminal Liability

Rights regarding Education Service

   - 1. Special Education and Vocational Education

   - 2. Care and Rehabilitation Services

Employment

   - 1. Employment Obligations

   - 2. Regulations regarding Social Security

   - 3. Protected Business Places

   - Conclusion (Employment)

EU ACQUIS AND PRACTICE

   - 1. Charter of Fundamental Rights

   - 2. Non-Discrimination Directive

   - 3. Employment Strategy and Socio-Economic Inclusion

   - 4. Education

   - Conclusion (EU ACQUIS AND PRACTICE)

LEGAL REMEDIES IN EUROPEAN UNION ACCESSION PROCESS

   - 1. Individual legal remedies

   - 2. Civil Society Organizations working on Disability

REFERENCES

PREFACE

Six Dots Foundation for the Blinds was founded in 1972 for the education, rehabilitation, employment and increasing the efficiency of blind people at work, to prevent blindness and to create a public awareness regarding the problems of blind people.

It has incorporated a new dimension to its activities, sustained for the last 35 years with a significant degree of success, with the "VISUALLY IMPAIRED INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION PROJECT" prepared in 2007 in line with the "Civil Society Dialogue: European Information Bridges Program," aiming to integrate the civil society organizations into Turkey's European Union accession process and financed by the European Union.

The main aim of the activity, to be implemented in cooperation with the European Blind Union as a Project partner, is;

To promote the regulations in Turkey in the accession partnership process regarding impaired in general and visually impaired in particular, as well as the EU acquis to visually impaired people in Turkey with a communications platform to be formed by two civil society organizations in Turkey and the EU.

The final objectives of the project are;

* To increase the level of knowledge and awareness regarding the impaired rights in the EU and Turkey comparatively,

* To inform visually impaired people in Turkey regarding the advantages and hardships pf EU accession process,

* To ensure that the briefing activities among the public authorities and institutions and the NGOs regarding the impaired people, in an efficient manner in the EU membership process,

* To inform the visually impaired people regarding the legal regulations, implementations and basic statistics in EU member countries and in Turkey,

* To inform the public and private sectors relevant to the visually impaired, regarding the new legal adjustments, implementations, and the legal adjustments foreseen to be introduced in the EU harmonization process on and about the impaired individuals,

* To engage in awareness-raising activities to support the efforts to solve the problems in implementation due to lack of information with regards to the new legal adjustments.

The primary target groups of the project are the visually impaired individuals in Turkey, Six Dots Foundation for the Blinds, European Blind Union, civil society organizations working towards visually impaired, visually impaired schools, public institutions working about visually impaired individuals (Impaired People Authority, SHÇEK, İŞKUR, etc.) and the final target groups are other impaired groups in Turkey, families of visually impaired, researchers and technicians working in universities and city libraries.

The activities within the scope of the project to fulfill these aims are;

* As a result of the workshop conducted and in line with the information collected with the contributions of Project Consultants and the project partner European Blind Union, a database was formed regarding the legislation, implementation, project samples and statistics about impaired individuals in general and regarding education, employment, discrimination and legal regulations about visually impaired in particular in Turkey and in the EU.

* These data were compiled in a handbook written in Braille alphabet. The book, which was released in 2500 copies, will be distributed to 15 visually impaired schools, civil society organizations working on visually impaired, public institutions and İŞKUR application offices in Turkey.

* 10.000 CDs were also released including the data in this book. The CDs will be distributed to public and private sector institutions that provide direct services to visually impaired, particularly banks and notary offices, as well as visually impaired individuals, to ensure that they are informed about the relevant legislation.

* A web-site was prepared with a simple design, which is appropriate for keyboard access for visually impaired. The website includes the basic information in the handbook and CD. However, the real aim is to create a website that is regularly updated with the information collected from Turkey and the EU countries. The objective of the website is to become bridge that conveys accurate and updated information and developments between the visually impaired individuals in Turkey and in EU.

Our website is the dynamic and improvable aspect of this project. Considering that the information contained in the book you're holding may be subject to change, the primary aim and task of the Foundation will be handling the website with due care and enrich it with the information and questions to be received from visually impaired to act an efficient role in the resolution of the problems.

The successful outputs of the project will be announced to the public through a press conference to be organized, which will help to increase the awareness regarding the problems of impaired in general and visually impaired in particular among the public.

If the legal adjustments made regarding the protected business places, required quota in employment, accessibility, access to information, technological adjustments, positive discrimination and mixed education are not internalized and realized by the public, they will be bound to be shelved.

The activities so far within the scope of this project on visually impaired are just small and initial steps. For the snowball to start rolling and getting bigger, contributing to the content of this handbook and CD by every person reached is a duty of citizenship and humanity.

I want to thank the project team, who have been working in a real voluntarist manner, outside the boundaries of the professional spirit for the realization of this project, the Consultants and all the people who have contributed with their time and efforts.

Best regards,
Oya Sebük, PCC
General Secretary, Project Coordinator 

DISABILITY RIGHTS IN THE EUROPEAN UNION AND HARMONIZATION PROCESS IN TURKEY

The European Union, for which the foundations were laid in 1957 with the Rome Agreement, became a community of 27 members and a population of 450 million as of January 1, 2007. A supranational mechanism was set up under the roof of the European Union. While there are a number of common policies run by the union members, there are also situations where there are only advisory statements by the union and the national practices vary. One of the latter situations is the legislation on disability rights.

Disability rights is considered within the scope of "Social Policy" in the European Union. Social Policy is taken as a harmonization tool that prioritizes the need for equal treatment of all citizens in the professional and social live in the European Union. The first social action plan under this policy was created in 1974 and thus the efforts towards the adaptation of social practices among the countries were initiated.

Social and professional adaptation right for disabled were included in the 1989 European Social Charter. Hence, the right of disabled to get equal service in every aspect of society was recognized by the European Union member states.

In the Council of the European Union meeting held in March 2000, the participants decided that the targets in every field of social policy were to be determined until 2010. It was also decided in the summit that a National Action Plan was to be prepared for the fight against social exclusion and the struggle against every kind of discrimination was taken as the basis for European Social Policy .

For the harmonization in Turkey to the social policy, the establishment of equal treatment principle in public life regardless of differences in racial and ethnic origin is expected. Additionally, Directives need to be released on equal treatment in employment and professional life regardless of differences in age, physical disability, sexual orientation, religion and faith and the revised laws need to be implemented. The 2006 Progress Report of the Council of the European Union states that an activity plan was prepared for the employment of disabled individuals and progress can be observed for the transfer of Disability Law, passed in 2005, to Regulations. The parts of the law that started to be implemented with regulations are particularly about the access of disabled individuals to education and employment services.

This handbook will examine the current legal situation and expected changes particularly regarding visually disabled in Turkey in the disability legislation, and will also evaluate the European Union acquis to make a comparison with the European Union. The reasons for including the Turkish legislation to the evaluation is to inform the disabled individuals in the target group about the latest legal regulations and expected adjustments on their rights and to put forward the basic definition differences between Turkey and the EU member states. For instance, while the definition of disabled in Turkey covers the individuals that have lost at least 40 percent of their basic functions, this rate is 30 percent in Malta. In line with these differences, the practices vary among the countries.

Before evaluating the legislations, it is useful to mention some statistics about the visually impaired individuals in Turkey and in the European Union. However, we should also note that, the official statistical studies in the European Union are usually very limited in scope because of the risk of leading to discrimination in social life. The studies conducted in this area in Turkey are very limited in number. 10 percent of the total population of European Union member countries is disabled individuals. Around 4 percent of this population is estimated to be consisting of visually impaired. This figure points out to the fact that there are around 18 million visually impaired in the European Union, with the total population of 450 million.

Generally, the participation rate of disabled to the work force is low and the unemployment level is high. According to the results of European Workforce Survey conducted in 2002, 44.6 million people aged 16 to 64 stated that they are disabled or have a long-term health problem. This figure corresponds to 16 percent of the total population . According the 2003 figures of Eurostat, 78% of people that have a serious disability in EU-15 are outside the workforce market. On the same date, it was determined that only 40% of disabled individuals are able to work . On the same date, it was determined that 2.6% of the total population of EU-15 have visual problems and the rate of visually impaired in 10 countries that joined the union in 2005 is 4.3%.

In Turkey, according to the 2000 census of the Turkish Statistics Institution, the number of disabled individuals is 8,431,937, which corresponds to 12.29% of the total population. The 2002 Advanced Analysis Report of Turkey Disabled Research by the Prime Ministry Disabled Authority states that there are 412,313 visually impaired individuals in Turkey.

According to the data received from State Personnel Office Directorate in April 2007, the total number of disabled employed in state institutions in Turkey is 9,193. Of this number, 2,093 are visually impaired and 248 of these individuals are women. The data of the Ministry of Work and Social Security Turkey Employment Agency Labor Market Information Services Office Directorate shows that of the 28,236 people that applied to the agency in 2006, 23,781 disabled individuals were found employment, 20,651 of them being men and 3,310 of them being women. Therefore, the employment rate of disabled in general and visually impaired in particular is very low in Turkey.

Recently, the long-term policy of the European Union about the disabled focuses on the establishment of the equality of opportunity. In line with the strategy of integration disabled individuals to the society, the member countries target to ensure that disabled individuals get equal and respected treatment, and to establish their access to the right to participate in public life through sustaining their lives independently. These objectives will be fulfilled through the activities towards ensuring that disabled individuals can use their skills and can participate in the public life.

European Union Disability Strategy is based on three foundations:

1. Developing legal means and measures for the struggle against discrimination in a way that will ensure access to individual rights

2. Removing all the environmental obstacles preventing the disabled to reveal their skills

3. Increasing awareness regarding the issues about disability in the European Community policies to ensure the active participation of disabled individuals to the public life.

DISABILITY LAW AND THE SITUATION OF VISUALLY IMPAIRED IN TURKEY

The Disability Law no. 5378, adapted by the Turkish Parliament on July 1, 2005, laid the legal foundation for a number of new legal adjustments in line with the international requirements about services towards the disabled and the disability rights in Turkey. When the Constitution and the clauses of the relevant laws are combined with the regulations that were put into force, the legislation appears to be affecting all disabled groups as much as the visually impaired. Therefore, no special distinctions will be made regarding the visually impaired in the text while evaluating the legal situation, the scope of practices and the problems, as well as the new rights that need to be demanded, and references will be made to visually impaired when relevant while stating the legal situation and problems of all disabled groups.

While evaluating the regulations, the three main headings in the general framework regarding the participation of visually impaired to the public life will be kept. These headings are Basic Individual Rights, Education and Employment. Areas regarding the fight against discrimination will be particularly highlighted while giving information about the headings.

Basic Individual Rights

1. Service Obligations of Public Institutions

Knowing the service obligations of public institutions towards the disabled in Turkey is crucial for demanding these services by the disabled. These obligations include the basic education and health services and obligations that arise out of the citizenship rights. The rights and obligations under various laws and regulations are as follows:.

The Law no. 5378 stipulated the full responsibility of the state for the participation of disabled individuals to the public life and underlines the importance of the principle of keeping the family together for the fulfillment of this responsibility .

In line with this law, some amendments were made to the State Officers Law. The law stipulates that all the tools and equipment needed for the disabled for their appointment to appropriate positions and fulfilling the requirements of their tasks, provided that these are in line with the legislation on public servants . If the special education evaluation council certifies that the civil servant's spouse, children or siblings, who were certified to be in need of special care, need special education, the civil servants can be appointed to a relevant vacant position in the province or district where the special education or training institution is based .

Under the law, the Metropolitan municipalities are responsible for setting up disability service units to provide services of information, directing, consultancy, social and professional rehabilitation to disabled individuals .

Besides, the Youth and Sports General Directorates and the units under the directorate are entrusted to make adjustments in existing facilities to enable disabled individuals to do sports and to provide new facilities and equipment .

Certain adjustments are also foreseen regarding the services provided by public institutions to the disabled. According to the amendments made to the Notary Law, if the relevant person has a disability of seeing, hearing and speaking, the legal transactions will be made in the presence of two witnesses and certified interpreter upon the request of the disabled person. In case of the usage of signature and/or the hand sign substituting the signature of the person, the notary can also make the relevant person, witness, interpreter or the expert put his finger print on the document if deemed necessary . However, in practice, as the notaries have insufficient knowledge about the law, this preference is usually disregarded and the disabled people are required to have witnesses and interpreters.

Elections are crucial for the exercise of the citizenship rights. Therefore, amendments were also made to the relevant law for the forming of election registers and the arrangement of the election environment for the disabled individuals. First of all, during the renewal of election registers to be made once in four years and the elector registration, the elector should be asked whether he/she has any disability to prevent casting a vote and this information should be noted down. Moreover, the necessary measures should be taken to ensure that disabled individuals can cast their votes easily in the ballot box . The Elections Law stipulates that the disabled individuals that cannot cast their votes alone can be accompanied by a relative from the same electoral region. If the disabled individual does not have a person to accompany him/her, a person present will accompany him/her, however, one person cannot accompany more than two disabled electors.

The implementation bases introduced by the regulation stipulating the formation of disability database and the recording of physical, sensual and mental disability above 40% to the Identity Cards to widen the areas where disabled individuals benefit from the public services are as follows. If the disabled individual wants the disability situation to be mentioned in the identity card, he/she should apply to the Provincial Population Director with the original and approved copy of the Health Council report and the original and approved copy of the identity card. Following the application, a statement indicating the disability rate of the applicant on the back of the identity card. The information that was obtained in this application is transferred to the national database. Additionally, the disabled person is required to inform the institution about the changes in his/her health situation. The disabled individual who does not want his/her disability situation to be mentioned in the identity card has the right to use the health council report to demand the same services .

In this context, we should also note the processes regarding the obtainment of the Health Council Report. For the disabled individuals to obtain a health council report, they need to be referred by the public institution where the report will be used or apply in person to the chief physician's office of the hospital to issue the report. The applicant will be assessed in the council where the general surgery, internal diseases, ear-nose-throat, eye diseases, neurology or psychological diseases and, physical therapy and rehabilitation experts, if there are available in the institution, are present, after filling in the form. The council determines the function loss in percentage and the report form will be filled in line with this percentage. The report is required to have a photograph affixed for the disabled individuals over the age of 7. The reports released for employment purposes should also mention whether the person is able to work or not according to the function deficiency rate. The rights entitled to the person with the report should be determined by the Health Council and should be included in the report's usage purposes part. The disabled people with 40% or more function loss, determined by the report, can submit their special education service demands to the Provincial National Education Directorates with this report. The custodian or the guardian of the disabled individuals can object to the Provincial Health Directorate against the report. If the disability percentage on the report is not changed as a result of the report, the report will become final .

Adjustments were made in the relevant broadcasting law to create positive prejudices regarding disability and disabled individuals among the public and to interfere with the public discrimination processes. If there are signs of discrimination in broadcasts and publications regarding the disabled people, the disabled people have the right to submit their complaints to RTÜK .

Moreover, the payment of salary to disabled individuals that cannot sustain their lives without somebody's assistance, under the social state principle regulated in the Constitution, was regulated with the change introduced in the 1st additional article of the law no. 5378 and the law no. 2022. The regulation published on 20.06.2006 under the law mentioned regulates the criteria for the disabled individuals to be paid salaries and the salaries to be paid. The people, who have disabled relatives over the age of 18, are obliged to take care of that person and have economic troubles, will be also paid salaries under certain conditions .

The beneficiaries will be made payments once in three months through the Pension Fund. The payments will start at the beginning of the first month following the application to the Pension Fund. The salaries will be exempt from all kinds of tax reductions and the payments will be taken with 50% increase in case of missing or inaccurate statement .

2. Regulations regarding Accessibility

We should also underline the adjustments to be made in the environment, architectural construction and particularly the transportation services to facilitate the access of disabled individuals to public services and activities. The new Disability Law introduced significant changes particularly regarding architectural applications and the regulation of local transportation. The Disability Law stipulates that the adjustments to be made to establish full access of disabled individuals to the existing official buildings of public agencies and institutions, all the existing roads, sideways and crosswalks, open and green areas, sports fields and similar social and culture infrastructure fields and all kinds of service buildings open to the public will be made in seven years as of July 1, 2005 . Although the civil society organizations have been continuing to struggle to change this date with an earlier one, the disabled individuals should also follow the developments regarding the local administrations realizing these rights in practice.

The law also stipulates that the buildings and social, technical and urban infrastructures and structures have to comply with the relevant standards of the Turkish Standards Institute to open the physical environment to the full access of disabled individuals .

Under the Disability Law, parking in the parking space allocated to the vehicles of disabled is prohibited . If the people that cannot see and display this fact with the signs carried (holding a white walking stick, carrying a yellow band with three black dots or walking with the help of a person holding his arms) are on the vehicle road, all the drivers are obliged to slow down and stop to help the person when necessary . The fine to be paid by people for non-compliance with this clause is 105.00 YTL as of the date of the writing of this book.

Alongside the vehicle access, there are also special clauses in interpersonal communications. With the amendment to the Ministry of Transportation Law on 16 June 2006, services to be provided to low-income groups and the disabled groups, that need to be socially protected, in exchange for a low level of charge, to be determined in a way that will not contradict the universal equality principle . In this context, aviation companies such as the Turkish Airlines and public authorities and institutions that provide public transportation services such as the municipalities apply special discounts for disabled people.

3. Tax Exemptions

Disabled people are held exempt from some taxes or are given certain tax discounts to facilitate their lives. The laws and practices regarding this issue are briefly summarized below.

According to the amendment made to the Residence Tax Law on July 30, 2003, the Cabinet of Ministers is entitled to reduce the rate of Residence Tax to be paid by disabled people who have only one residence within the borders of Turkey that do not exceed 200 m2 in gross, in a rate to be determined by the cabinet or totally remove. This clause also applies in the case of holding shares in one residence, with the same conditions. However, it does not apply for residences that are used in certain times of the year, such as the summer houses or recreation houses .

According to the Income Tax Law, the damages paid in the case of death, impairment and unemployment and the donations made are exempt from income tax . Under the same law, the employees that have lost at least 80% of their working capacity are classified as first degree disabled, those with at least 60% capacity loss second degree and those with at least 40% loss are classified as third degree disabled. According to this classification, 530 YTL will be deduced from the income tax to be paid by first degree disabled people, 265 YTL to be deduced from the income tax to be paid by second degree disabled people and 133 YTL to be deduced from the income tax to be paid by the third degree disabled people , as of July 19, 2005 .

According to the Customs Law, the goods, tools and vehicles to be used for education, scientific and cultural purposes and the tools and vehicles to be used for medical diagnosis, treatment and research will be exempt from customs duty while entering the country for free movement . The goods towards the use of disabled and impaired people are also exempt from customs duty .

Besides, the services provided in elderly and disabled care houses are considered exceptions for social purposes and the services provided in such places are held exempt from the value added tax. Similarly, all kinds of tools and vehicles produced for the education, employment and social participation of disabled individuals are exempt from VAT .

Besides, the vehicles registered on disabled and impaired people that have 90% or more disability rate and the vehicles that are adjusted for the use of disabled and impaired people are exempt from motor vehicle tax . Another tax reduction regarding the vehicle use is made over the Special Consumption Tax. Of the vehicles that are listed in the exemption list and are among the G.T.İ.P (Customs Tariff Statistics Position) number 87.03 (with engine displacement less than 1.600 cm3'), 87.04 (with engine displacement less than 12.800 cm3) and 87.11, the ones that are used by disabled and impaired people with 90% or more disability rate and are provided with special equipment, are exempt from tax in the first acquisition once in five years .

In addition to these, amendments were made in the Social Aid and Solidarity Encouragement Fund, in order to cover the expenses of disabled individuals, which cannot be covered within the scope of institutional expenses. The costs of treatment and function-acquisition related orthopedic and other aid tools and equipment for the disabled people that are covered by social security institutions and that get salary or payment from such institutions will be covered by the Social Aid and Solidarity Encouragement Fund .

Things to be Done to Benefit from Tax Reductions

In accordance with the regulation on the determination of disability degrees, which was put into force in 1981, the disabled employee that wants to benefit from the income tax reduction should apply to the Revenue Office Income Directorate in the province or to the Tax Office Directorate in districts where there are independent Tax Offices, with a petition, the copy of the identity card and the employment document to be obtained from the business place where he is employed. In line with the petition, the public institution officers should direct the employee to the nearest health institution after writing down the applicant disabled employee's name, surname, father's name and date of birth on the three copies of the Health Council report forms. After the Health Council report is prepared in the relevant health institution, the hospital will send the report to the institution that has sent the form. The relevant institution will record the disability percentage written on the report for the income tax reduction. The employees working abroad should make their application to Turkish embassies or consulates with the same documents .

4. Legal and Criminal Liability

The situation of the disabled regarding the criminal liability legally is defined within the scope of legal liability. According to the Turkish Civil Code, every person other than minors, those with mental disease or mental weakness and those that have lost their ability to act rationally because of being drunk or other similar reasons, have legal liability. The lack of legal liability applies for cases where there is no ability to discern, where the age is low or where there are limitations subject to conditions. The deeds of people without the ability to discern do not cause judicial results .

The Civil Code defines the obligation of providing the basic and vocational education in accordance with the skills and preferences of disabled children among the education related obligations of parents , and states that custodianship can be removed and a guardian can be appointed for the child should the parents fail to fulfill these responsibilities.

The Turkish Civil Code adopted in 2004 introduced significant sanctions regarding the fight against discrimination. The law stipulates that a person who makes discrimination among people because of language, religion, sect, race, color, sex, disability, political ideas, philosophic beliefs and similar reasons ; engages in activities to prevent the sale or transfer of mobile and immobile assets of the realization of relevant services; prevents the employment of a person; fails to meet the nutritional needs of one person or to realize a public service; prevents the economic activities of one person will be sentenced to six-months to one year prison terms or judicial fine.

The Turkish Civil Code also stipulates up to one year prison terms for a person that does not notify the authorities regarding a crime committed or a crime that can be yet prevented and states that this sentence will be increased by its half if the victim of the crime is a minor or a disabled person .

So far, we have examined the basic individual rights and the obligations of public institutions to realize these rights. Another issue that needs to be considered in the same field is the regulations on the right to education of the disabled individuals.

Rights regarding Education Service

The Ministry of Education has the obligation to develop special services for children that need special education and protection . The Law on Primary Education and Education underlines the equality principle and stipulates the need for necessary adjustment to provide special education and training to children that are in the compulsory primary education age but have mental, physical, mental or social disabilities .

The ruling of the Council of State 8th Chamber on 22.4.2004, with the number 2004/ 1921, is important as a guiding verdict for all disabled people, although not being directly related to the visually impaired. In the ruling for the cancellation of the 2nd article of the Mentally Disabled Special Education Centers Regulation, introducing the 21 age limitation to education, the court underlines "the fact that the mentally disabled individuals need an informed and systematic education and care regardless of their age" and states "an otherwise decision will exclude these individuals from society, leading them to become a burden for their families and the society and will also be in contradiction with the purpose of the law as well as the regulations regarding social security and education and training right in the Constitution. In other words, such a regulation and practice will lead to the violation of the rights guaranteed by the Constitution." The mentioned ruling of the Council of State sets a significant precedent taking into account the problems that may be generated by the age limitation to the education and rehabilitation of disabled individuals in case a person becomes disabled later.

The special education to be provided to disabled children, the rights of disabled individuals to education in professional fields to enable them to find employment and the rehabilitation services provided by both the public and the private institutions are explained briefly below.

1. Special Education and Vocational Training

A decree law was passed in 1997 regarding the access of individuals that need special education to the right to special education.

The decree states that all the arrangements to ensure that children in need of special education will be able to participate in special education processes in line with their needs should be made in early years of life. In this context, individual education plans should be prepared, the process should be arranged according to the skills and the environmental arrangements should be made taking the bonds of the child to the family in consideration .

The education process was divided into stages in the decree and the things to be done as well as the obligations of the state in each stage were explained.

The education services in the early childhood era should be continued in homes and institutions in a way that will include information and assistance to the family .

Rehabilitation and pre-school education for preparation for mixed education when needed are required for diagnosed children that need special education. The duration of this pre-school education can be extended taking the personal development processes and the characteristics of these children .

Preparatory classes can be opened for children that have completed the compulsory pre-school education and need special education in order to prepare them to formal training at the beginning of primary education. Special educational institutions can be opened to educate the children that have certain special educational needs together. Special education programs can be developed for children that have completed the preparation process regarding developmental needs .

The individuals that need special education can continue their middle education in special schools or attend certain vocational schools after they complete their compulsory education. Following that, all kinds of measures should be taken to meet the high education needs of students that have special educational needs .

According to this decree, the Ministry of Education is also responsible for taking all kinds of measures that will ensure mixing through the education of individuals that need special education with their peers, when necessary . Besides, the individuals that need special education should be supported for special education in all kinds of educational environment, relevant institutions should be cooperated if there is a need for rehabilitation services, the education programs should be prepared in line with needs and skills and the individual assessment should be made taking these programs into consideration .

However, while there are people among the visually impaired and the educators of visually impaired that support mixed education, there are also some others that oppose that model. In the practices in Europe, the interest in mixed education practices tends to fall.

The Ministry of Education is also responsible for organizing courses on professions that are relevant for the business life for individuals that need special education. The interests, needs and skills of individuals should be taken into account in the planning and implementation of the courses. The students will be given the apprentice and student status in these courses .

A regulation released in 2006 regulated the foundation, inspection and operation principles regarding the vocational rehabilitation centers to be set up for the training of disabled individuals in line with their skills and increasing their economic and social well-being. It stipulated that the vocational training and rehabilitation courses, which are to be opened in accordance with the Ministry of Education Special Educational Institutions legislation and will be directed by the Turkish Employment Agency provincial directorates, will provide vocational directing and guidance, vocational training and social rehabilitation services . In order to apply to these centers, the disabled individual should have at least 40% disability, should be over 15 years old and be registered in the Turkish Employment Agency. For enrollment in the center, the application should be made to the center with a copy of the identity card, the residence document, Health Council Report or disability identity card, 2 photographs and an updated document specifying the educational situation of the individual, if available . Since the regulation is already put into force, the visually impaired individuals can make demand for services regarding its implementation.

2. Care and Rehabilitation Services

The disabled children, who have lost their physical, mental, psychological, emotional and social skills to a certain degree either from birth or later, cannot sustain their lives without help, are in need of care and are certified to be severely disabled with an official health council report, are under the responsibility of Social Services and Children Protection Institution .

Another amendment made to the same law in 1997 stipulated that supporting the family with education, counseling and social aids to enable the child to be supported and raised in the family, and developing the necessary services to determine, protect, care, raise and rehabilitate the children and disabled individuals that need protection, care and help are among the responsibilities of the institution .

The regulations regarding the provision of care services at home under the supervision of S.H.Ç.E.K. should also be noted. It was decided that the care service for the needy disabled individuals, who are not subject to social security coverage and have lost their families, or have financial difficulties in the household or are in social need, will be given in public or private care institutions or in their places of residence . In this context, loss of parents or the poorness of the family is recognized as a pre-condition for the receiving of care services at home by the visually impaired individuals, whose loss of sight is below 90% and who are not bedridden. However, it is necessary to provide access to this service by the visually impaired children without any preconditions to ensure their participation to the social processes.

The processes regarding the determination of disabled individuals who need care services and the demands of disabled individuals regarding care service are also regulated in a regulation in 2006. For the determination of disabled people who have not applied in person or through their relatives, the government officials, the health institutions, village officials or security officials and public institutions of the province where the disabled individuals are settled can make statement to the social services province/district directorate . Following the pre-interview to be conducted with the disabled individual and/or his/her relatives in the province/district directorate, a Care Services Demand Form will be prepared. There are some documents that need to be submitted by the disabled individual during the application. These documents are detailed population register copy, residence document, health council report, documents regarding the social security coverage of the disabled individual or the family, income statement, two passport-sized photographs, document showing the educational status, if available, and if the parents of the individual are divorced, the court verdict regarding the divorce .

For the disabled person, whose application was accepted, a file is prepared including the social assessment report, the care report and the documents mentioned above. In line with the information contained in the line, the type of care service suggested by the care services evaluation council is approved by the provincial directorate .

The services to be provided to disabled individuals are divided into personal care services and the psycho-social support services. The disabled individual and the family can select to take these services in the care and rehabilitation centers operating under the General Directorate, other center operating under other public institutions and authorities with the approval of the General Directorate, in private care centers or in the place of residence of the disabled person. The center to provide the service will prepare a care plan for the person to receive the service, taking the care services evaluation report into consideration. In case that the service is provided by a relative that is not in the immediate family, the care services evaluation council is responsible for providing guidance to the person to give the service .

Other than the services provided by the relatives, the payments are made to the institution that organizes the service by the S.H.Ç.E.K. General Directorate. If the caretaker, who was appointed by the care center, gives the care service to the disabled individual in the center or the place of residence of the disabled individual, the agency makes the payment to the person who assumed the service, provided that the following documents are submitted. These documents are the Personal Care Plan, approved by the center, the copy of the notary-approved bill given by the center to the person who will 

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