The Turkish government and the European Union have teamed up on a new project to improve the lives of the Roma community that has long been deprived of its basic rights. The âProject to establish an efficient monitoring, evaluation and coordination mechanism for the Roma strategic documentâ was presented on Tuesday at an event in the Turkish capital, Ankara.
The project is carried out by the Ministry of Family and Social Services and funded by the EU. The Deputy Foreign Minister and Director for EU Affairs, Ambassador Faruk KaymakÃ§Ä±, attended the event along with other Turkish and EU officials.
It aims to “initiate monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, develop evidence-based social policies and measure the quality of services, efficiency and use,” the officials said.
KaymakÃ§Ä± said the aim was to successfully implement the “Second Phase Action Plan on the Strategy Document for Roma Citizens”, referring to a government-drafted plan to improve the lives of Roma citizens. The first action plan was applied in 2016-2018 and the second phase covers 2019-2021. The government’s strategy consists of five âpillarsâ – the right of Roma citizens to education, employment, housing, health care and social services. Olgun GÃ¼ndÃ¼z, an official from the Ministry of Family and Social Services, said at the event that work is being carried out to improve the standard of living of the Roma and improve them permanently.
Underprivileged and marginalized, the Roma community has historically been excluded from society because of deep-seated prejudices. In 2010, then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoÄan made a groundbreaking apology to the municipality on behalf of the state for the previous policy of disregarding their rights. Action plans for their better integration into society followed, through more school education for Roma children, improving their employment through courses for lifelong learning, incentives for self-employment and increased social assistance for impoverished Roma families.
Surveys show that education is a key component in improving the lives of Roma. Most children have limited access to education and school attendance rates are low. Education is one of the challenges facing the community, which often avoids schooling for their children due to discrimination or poverty, which often forces children to skip school to make a living for their families.
Most Roma citizens work in low-quality and low-paying jobs because of their limited access to education. Most of the community is self-employed. The government has also worked to improve housing for the community by providing monetary aid for home renovations and loans for building new homes.