Gov’t to use measures to increase birth rate
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has often called on families to have at least three children since the country’s ‘population risks aging.’ AA photoPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has instructed ministers, led by his deputy Ali Babacan, to work hard on increasing the population growth rate and convince people to have more children.
“The prime minister has instructed me to lead efforts with all other related ministries. We need to implement some very smart measures. We need a well-outlined plan that would take into account possible effects on budget balances,” Babacan said in a televised interview, adding that he will be working with the ministers of Family, Labor, Development and Finance in line with Erdoğan’s instructions.
Erdoğan often calls on Turkish families to have at least three children, saying that emulating European countries on the issue of population increases will slow the pace of the economy.
Babacan’s remarks came soon after Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Şahin announced a project to provide fertilization treatment to 2,500 families with no social security as well as no children. The project will be done in cooperation with Acıbadem Hospitals and the ministry is evaluating 2.5 million Turkish families as to whether they are suitable for this project, Şahin said. In a previous statement, she had claimed it was the ministry’s duty to support low-income families in having children.
Turkey’s statistical authority, TÜİK, recently announced the country’s population reached 75.6 million in 2012, saying the growth rate had slowed down from 0.13 percent in 2011 to 0.12 percent last year. Babacan said Turkey’s population is expected to increase until the year 2035, stabilizing at 80-85 million and then beginning to decline.
“Unfortunately, the Turkish state has attempted to decrease the pace of population increase in the past. We see that this is a huge mistake in the example of Europe. They are distributing money to their citizens to increase the population…This is why we have to take these measures,” Babacan said.
Babacan said this should be a policy rather than a motivation and that the main issue is to protect the family structure, adding that the spread of extramarital relations is an obstacle to population increase.
Development Minister Cevdet Yılmaz said that they will provide incentive measures to encourage families to have children, daily Hürriyet reported yesterday. “We will work on incentives. We have to have a system as powerful as in Europe,” said Yılmaz.
Erdoğan has often called on families to have at least three children in several speeches.
“One or two children mean bankruptcy. Three children mean we are not improving but not receding either. At least three children are necessary in each family, because our population risks aging,” he said earlier this month.