In Turkey, 40 out of every 100 children in poor households

In Turkey, 40 out of every 100 children in poor households

Professor Serdar Sayan from TOBB University reminded us once more about a statistic that makes our hearts twist during Ahmet Hakan’s show on CNNTürk the other evening.

The data Professor Sayan provided based on Turkish Statistics Institute’s (TÜİK) Income Living Conditions Survey are far from surprising; however, they are thought-provoking and need to be re-emphasized in a period when the government is preparing to provide monetary incentives for third and fourth children.

In Turkey while the average child per family is one for the top 20 percent income bracket, the average child per family is 3.5 in the lowest 20 percent income bracket. In our country 40 children out of every 100 children live in poor households. In other words, the families in the lowest 20 percent income bracket have 40 percent of the children in Turkey. And these children unfortunately live lacking huge means.

According to the data provided by Professor Sayan based on TÜİK’s Income Living Conditions Survey, children of the lowest 20 percent of the income bracket live in poverty and deficiency in all fields.

1) Ninety percent of poor families do not have any meat, chicken or fish at any meal.

2) Seventy percent of these families cannot provide a suitable environment in their homes for their children to study productively.

3) Eighty-eight percent of these families cannot take their children to a doctor when they are sick because of financial incapacity.

Child poverty

I have written this before. The incentive of 300 Turkish Liras a month planned to increase the number of children will mostly find favor in the lowest income families of East and Southeast Anatolia. Adding new ones to the millions of children in these families, who already cannot be fed properly, who already do not have a proper place to study at home and who do not have access to a doctor when needed does not carry Turkey to its future targets; at the most, it will only increase child poverty.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been suggesting three children per family for years; however, when the matter is not only limited to being a suggestion and has been expanded to monetary incentive, then my humble advice is for our government ministers who have been assigned to organize these incentives is to think once again, this time with their conscience.

Meral Tamer is a columnist for daily Milliyet in which this piece was published on Feb 9. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.