Turkish rights watchdog calls for law for elderly 

The Turkish Human Rights and Equality Agency (TIHEK) published the results of a survey on the country’s elderly citizens Tuesday. Sharing the results at a press conference in the capital Ankara, TIHEK director Süleyman Arslan called upon lawmakers to draft new laws addressing the concerns of the elderly.

The survey shows 30% of elderly people interviewed are “not satisfied with life” while the rest is undecided or expressed little satisfaction with living conditions. Arslan says the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on the “fragile elderly” and it was not only about their health or access to health care. “Pandemic-related restrictions made them more dependent on care providers. Our agency is monitoring the work and will ensure that elderly citizens have sufficient access to public services and live in a friendly environment, without being subjected to discrimination due to their age,” he said.

Arslan said the elderly population is gradually increasing in Turkey, and it rose to more than 7.9 million in the last five years with a 22.5% increase. He said just like laws enacted for special issues such as environmental protection and animal rights, elderly citizens should also have their own law, for the protection of their rights, and to address their problems. TIHEK’s survey shows that the elderly seek more social inclusion but believe it is only possible by ensuring “financial security.”