8 October 2012
The new unhindered seas project by the Transportation Ministry aims to provide convenience for disabled citizens in sea transportation.
Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım told Anatolia news agency that taking the necessary measures for the disabled to reach and use sea transportation vehicles safely was important. We will implement the unhindered seas project, which will give disabled citizens the chance to travel in conditions equal to other passengers and take some measures for them without demanding an extra charge. From now on, the seas will also be unhindered.
Yıldırım said the accommodations made for disabled citizens regarding harbors and seaports were being assessed as part of the project. According to the assessments, the proportion of ports having toilets and communication points for the disabled is 7 percent, while only 10 percent of them conform to accessibility standards. Only 6 percent of ports have points for calling for help, while 14 percent of them have resting areas, Yıldırım said.
These findings show that our ports and harbors cannot meet the needs of disabled citizens. But with this project, we will increase these rates. Thus we will overcome the obstacles in the seas. With this project, disabled citizens will be provided with as high a level of service as other citizens, he said.
Yıldırım said they had made accessibility standards for airports and railway stations, adding that Istanbuls Sabiha Gökçen Airport was Turkeys first airport to be handicapped-accessible. Yıldırım said Turkish Telecommunication had begun to send visually impaired clients telephone bills in Braille and special toilets and sections were allocated for disabled people on express trains. He said the Marmaray Project, which is regarded as the project of the century, would also be the project of the century for disabled people. We designed Marmaray completely in accordance with our disabled citizens [needs].
With the Ben de Varım project, started in 2009, we enabled disabled individuals to be employed in call centers, Yıldırım said.
Yıldırım also said they aimed to expand the projects for disabled individuals until they cover all means of transportation.
The minister said there were about 8 million disabled people living in Turkey and the ministry was working to meet their needs, adding that awareness about disabilities had developed in recent years in Turkey.
There are about 8 million disabled citizens, while 65 million citizens are at risk of becoming disabled in Turkey. But we are not aware of the critical conditions disability causes. As the government, we have provided important services to benefit disabled people, since we know the importance of the subject.
We focused on the matter within our ministry. In only a few years, we not only solved our disabled citizens transportation and accessibility problems, but also enabled them to be employed, Yıldırım said.