Turkey announced 2018 the Year against Child Labor, under the auspices of Turkish first lady Emine Erdoğan. The announcement came at the signing ceremony of the declaration of combating child labor, organized by the ILO and Turkey’s Ministry of Labour and Social Security. All related state organizations of Turkey pledged commitment on the issue and in scope with that, 6 ministries and 7 social partners penned the declaration along with the ILO.
Turkish first lady said child labour is a shame for the whole society. Erdoğan said children should be at school instead of the workplaces and should get educated instead of being on the streets, adding that children are the gifts of God and should not be considered as labour forces.
Speaking at the ceremony, Turkey’s Labour and Social Security Minister Jülide Sarıeroğlu said significant steps are being taken and with the close cooperation of the related agencies the issue would fall from Turkey’s agenda. Highlighting the contributions of the ILO on combatting child labour, Sarıeroğlu reminded that Turkey was one of the first six countries to participate to the “International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC)” in 1992, and chosen as the model country in 2006 at the ILO Labour Conference.
Turkey’s Minister of National Education İsmet Yılmaz, Development Minister Lütfi Elvan, Youth and Sports Minister Osman Aşkın Bak, Minister of Interior Süleyman Soylu, and Minister of Family and Social Policies Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya emphasized their full support the ceremony.
ILO Turkey Director praises Turkey’s pioneering role. The Director of the ILO Turkey office Numan Özcan emphasized the pioneering role of Turkey on combating child labour. Özcan said: “With the National Program, Turkey first constituted a multi-partnered plan which defined the intervention priorities that were mentioned in the ILO conventions No.138 and No.182. Then, by declaring 2018 the Year against Child Labour, Turkey proved its determination and took a step that would set an example for the rest of the world. As far as I know, after the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, only Turkey constituted a comprehensive program and declared a year on the issue.” Özcan expressed the support of all UN agencies as well.